Two dozen novel beetles have been found in Aussie rainforests in the latest search operations.
About 24 new species of beetles have been discovered in the Australian rainforests. They belong to the weevil genus Trigonopterus. Australia is famous for its deserts that stretch all the way into the distance. It is also a land of endless savannahs.
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Nevertheless, many species of animals and insects thrive in the wet tropical rainforests that dot the eastern coast of Queensland. It was here that this latest batch of beetles was found.
While these weevil species are somewhat new for the world, in fact they had already been collected in arcane collections of insects in the 1880s and 1890s.
The collections had been collecting dust in a museum until a German researcher managed to get his hands on them. Often generations and centuries elapse before new species are discovered and their scientific labelling takes place.
The art of naming them and classifying them is a lengthy process. That is because a very small group of people deal in this rare and precious field of endeavor.
Thus although there are probably millions of new species already among the pre-existing collections of insects, few people have the knowledge and expertise necessary to identify the new species in the first place.
But here is the catch. Old collections in museums are not enough. Nowadays data from DNA profiling is also a must. Freshly-collected material must be put through sequencing techniques.
After examining collections, the scientists head off to the great outdoors in search of new species. In case of the beetles, one of them was entirely new and was named Trigonopterus garradungensis. This name was chosen after the territory in which it was found.
The new weevils are confined to restricted areas that are not very large in their acreage. Some of them are from a single locale. It seems to be due to their being wingless. Thus they never got a chance to travel outside of their comfort zone.
They are found among leaf litters and are often camouflaged. Only under specific circumstances do they come to the surface. The local species are very sensitive to a change of habitat or the loss of their environment.
The weevils have been found in Australia which is the oldest of continents in the region. They will go on to provide clues as to the sort of eco-webs in the locality where they are to be found.
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This study is published in the open-access journal ZooKeys.