A beetle with short wings that do not fly and another whose specialty is hunting millipedes to feed their babies are two of the five new species of insects that were discovered for Costa Rica and Panama. This was made by researchers like Bert Kohlmann, University Earth and Angel Solis, the National Biodiversity Institute (INBio).
The report was accepted by a scientific committee in December 2011 and will soon be published in the journal Zootaxa.
The specimens that were studied belong to the insect inventory that INBio has been doing for more than 20 years.
The new species of beetles are Athyreus gulesseriani, Ateuchus alutacius, Coprophanaeus gephyra, acanthus and Onthophagus Deltochilum turgidus.
“These five species are important in the sense that we have about 20 years studying this family and these are the last that we were missing to describe,” said Kohlmann.
The family Scarabaeidae, have a group of 182 species in various genres.
“This family is the first group of insects studied entirely in Costa Rica. Allowing us to have a basis for understanding the areas of distribution, high diversity and endemism most important. So we can define the best strategies for biodiversity protection, “said the researcher.
Beetles are the most diverse organisms on the planet and its role is key in maintaining the ecosystem.
“They recycle wood and fruit, pollinate plants, help with soil fertility … and much more. Ecosystem services they provide are countless, “Kohlmann said.
These insects can be as general or as specialized as they want to adapt to habitat. Their diversity and the five newly described species are examples.
The beetles of the species Deltochilum acanthus are between 11.2 and 11.9 mm. They are from the rainforest in the Pacific of Costa Rica until the Panama Canal.
Individuals of this genus have long hind legs and bowed because they use to make food balls that roll up until their home.
“However, this species is specialized in the millipede catch,” said Kohlmann and proceeded to detail in his explanation. “In the head, these beetles have the teeth that insert behind the head of millipedes and that’s how they decapitated them. Then, using their legs, make a ball rolling and is taken to make a nest. The millipedes will feed the babies. ”
The species Athyreus gulesseriani also belongs to the rainforest, but in the Caribbean.
Their individuals are between 16 and 17.5 mm. Along with the species known as Athyreus championi, are the only two members of this genus in Central America.
The third species described by Kohlmann and Solís, this is called Onthophagus turgidus. The male measures about 10.3 mm and is common in the Central Cordillera of Panama.
The only example in the rain forest is the kind Coprophanaeus gephyra.
These beetles are between 18 and 19 mm. Located in central Panama, specifically in Colon, Panama City and the Canal.
In the southern slope of the Coastal Rank in the Pacific of Costa Rica, living a type of beetle cloud forest: the Ateuchus alutacius.
The female is about 7.1 mm and with this report, the number of species in this genus in the country increased from 10 to 11.
According to Kohlmann, this beetle was one that had more attention for the size of their wings. To keep them short, they can not fly and this is the first species of the genus that has this feature.
“It has been hypothesized that these beetles lost the ability to fly because they live in a very stable, and cloud forests are very old, very stable and there are very few,” Kohlmann said.
Also, small winged scarabs are associated with cloud forests in mountain systems rather than in lowlands, such as the Coastal Rank.