Monday 28 April 2014

A new species of Ground Beetle from Papua New Guinea.

Ground Beetles (Carabidae) are large carnivorous Beetles with destictive black or metalic elytra (wing-cases) that are sometimes fused, preventing flying. They have paired glands on their lower abdomens which produce noxious chemicals, used to defend the Beetles against predators (in one group of Carabids, the Bombadier Beetles,these secretions have evolved to react violently, even explosively, to one-another). The group has a fossil record dating back to the Triassic.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 29 November 2012, Kipling Will of the Essig Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Berkeley and David Kavanaugh of the Department of Entomology at the California Academy of Sciences describe a new species of Carabid Beetle from the Finisterre Mountain Range on the northeastern coast of Papua New Guinea.

The new species is placed in the genus Lesticus and given the specific name finisterrae, meaning ‘from Finisterre’. The species is described from a single male specimen collected near Teptep on the borders between Madang and Morobe Provinces in a pitfall trap in montane moss forest at an altitude of 3050 m. The area was at the upper limit of the forest’s distribution, being replaced by open grassland slightly higher. The single specimen is a dark brown Beetle, 20 mm in length, with sharply hooked mandibles.

Male specimen of Lesticus finiterrae, in dorsal view. Will & Kavanaugh (2012).

View within upper montane moss forest habitat at 3050m elevation, Finisterre Range, Papua New Guinea. The pitfall trap in which the unique specimen of Lesticus finisterrae was collected was located in the shaded area just below the middle of the figure. Will & Kavanaugh (2012).

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