A “large” metallic creature – thought to have been extinct 100 years ago – has been discovered on the island
Tom Terzin has been fascinated by beetles since he was a child.
“They act like little natural robots,” Terzen said on January 30. University of Alberta press release. “They crawl and obey simple rules. If there is an obstacle in their way, they usually go around it, and that is usually how the robot behaves.
That’s why the researcher and biology professor participated in two expeditions to the Philippines to search for beetles and collect samples, he told McClatchy News in a Feb. 2 email.
While sifting through samples he collected from Northern Negros National Park on Negros Island, Terzin discovered something unusual, according to the university. It was a short-nosed weevil known as Metapocyrtus (Orthocyrtus) bifoveatus, which was thought to be extinct.
The “colored” species have not been seen on the island for 100 years. Researchers believe the animal was killed after its lowland rainforest habitat was wiped out by deforestation.
“In the insect world, it’s like discovering the dodo,” Terzen said.
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The specimen found by Terzen is the first female of this species to be recorded, according to a study published December 8 in the journal Topula Poplar.
the “Large to medium sized” species Terzen and co-author Banjoy Shirley said in the study. The female beetle is about 0.5 inches long.
Metapocyrtus (Orthocyrtus) bifoveatus have “green and blue metallic scales” on their heads under oval-shaped eyes, the researchers said. The upper half of their bodies is “shiny, smooth” and “rusty brown” with a collar covered in “green and blue metallic scales.”
The lower half of the species’ body is “smooth” and “reddish-brown to black.” It is covered with “rounded, mixed green and blue metallic scales”, and has “two shiny brown spots” on its sides that lack scales.
The photos show the new, brightly colored species.
Terzen found the specimen of Metapocyrtus (Orthocyrtus) bifoveatus in a rainforest about 4,600 feet above sea level, according to the study.
“Somehow, these species managed to survive at higher altitudes of more than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), showing a struggle for life, as they refused to go extinct due to deforestation,” he said in a university statement.
A new type of weevil
While sorting through his collection from the garden, Terezin discovered another strange specimen: a black insect that did not have the same “metallic sheen” as similar weevils.
It was a new type.
“This guy was a bit of an outsider, a bit of a rebel in his refusal to imitate the genre,” Terzen said.
The new species, identified as Metapocyrtus (Trachycyrtus) augustanae, is small in size, with a single female specimen measuring about 0.26 inches, according to the study.
The researchers said that the “small-sized” weevil has a gray-black body with protruding yellow bristle-like protrusions. The lower half of its body is “rough”, and its “oval” eyes are black.
Scientists named this new species after the University of Alberta’s Augustana campus, where Terzen works.
The female specimen was found in a rainforest habitat at about 4,600 feet above sea level.
Terzen said the discovery of the new species is exciting.
“This may mean that there has been a reorientation of the habits of this species, in evolutionary terms, and the fact that it is only known from a single specimen, at the moment, suggests that it may be a rare species,” he said.
“They’re like asteroids.”
Staying informed about weevils is essential because they can become pests, according to Terzin.
“It’s like asteroids crossing Earth’s orbit,” he said. “Some of them can be dangerous, but they are more dangerous if we don’t know about them. So it’s important to monitor their populations, and that means we first need to detect them.”
Terzen also encountered a third, “rare” weevil species while visiting Canlaon National Park in the Philippines, he said in his email.
According to the study, these “large-sized” creatures, known as Eumacrocyrtus canlaonensis, had a “shiny rusty-brown” upper body with “dense, bluish-gray, semi-metallic scales” on their sides. The lower part of their bodies is “dark brown or black, smooth” and “covered with bluish-gray, semi-metallic, circular scales.”
When Terezin was in the park in 2016, the previously dormant Canlaon volcano erupted. The area where the Eumacrocyrtus canlaonensis samples were collected has since been closed, according to Terzin.
“My brief encounter with E. canlaonensis may be my last,” he said.
(Tags for translation) University of Alberta (R) Tom Terzin