Wednesday 7 May 2014

A new species of Straight Snouted Weevil from the Bornean rainforest canopy.

Straight Snouted Weevils (Brentidae) are wood-eating Beetles related to the True Weevils, found in temperate and tropical regions across the globe, though they are most diverse and numerous in the tropics. The classification of the group has changed dramatically a number of times in the last 20 years, and appears likely to change again.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 8 April 2014, a team of scientists led by Munetoshi Maruyama of The Kyushu University Museum describe a new species of Straight Snouted Weevil from the Lambir Hills National Park in Sarawak State, Malaysia.

The new species is named Pycnotarsobrentus inuiae, where 'Pycnotarsobrentus' means 'stout tarsi-bearing brentid' and 'inuiae' honours Yoko Inui, an expert on Ants in the canopies of tropical forests, who collected some of the specimens from which the species is described. 

Pycnotarsobrentus inuiae is a 6.2-8.5 mm stout bodied dark brown Straight Snouted Weevil. It lives within the nests of the canopy dwelling Ant, Crematogaster difformis, which are built within the epiphytic Ferns, Platycerium crustacea and Lecanopteris ridleyi, high within the branches of Podocarp trees. While this seems a rather specialized habitat, a number of other insects have previously been found living within Crematogaster difformis nests, all of which seem to be exclusive to this environment.

Pycnotarsobrentus inuiae in dorsal view, male (left) and female (right). Maruyama et al. (2014).

The habitat of Pycnotarsobrentus inuiae; a specimen of the epiphytic Fern Platycerium crustacea, hosting a nest of the canopy-dwelling Ants Crematogaster difformisMaruyama et al. (2014).

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