Monday, 6 August 2018

Scolytoplatypus unipilus: A new species of Bark Beetle from Gabon.

Bark Beetles, Scolytinae, get their name from their habit of living underneath the bark of trees, Some species are generalists, living on a variety of trees, generally targeting weak or dying trees, though others target specific species and are often able to infect healthy members of their host species. Many Bark Beetles can carry Fungal infections and other Plant pathogens, making them a serious pest in areas where forests of single species are grown for commercial purposes. They were formerly considered to be a separate family of Beetles (the Scolytidae), but recent genetic studies have shown them to be members of the True Weevil Family (Curculionidae).

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 10 April 2018, Bjarte Jordal of the University Museum at the University of Bergen describes a new species of Bark Beetle from the Ipassa National Park in Gabon.

The new species is described from three female specimens captured in baited traps in the Ipassa National Park. The species is placed in the widespread genus Scolytoplatypus, and given the specific name unipilus, meaning 'single hair' as the species is has single hairs on its body, where other species in the genus have clusters of hairs. All three specimens are dark brown in colour, and range from 1.6 to 1.7 mm in length, making this species the smallest known African member of the genus.

Habitus, head and elytral declivity of Scolytoplatypus unipilus. Jordal (2018).

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