New species of “punk beetle” discovered (4 photos)

Category: Nature, PEGI 0+
2 April 2024

At first it was mistaken for bird droppings.

Source: James Tweed

In the world of tarantula insects living in tropical forests, the main thing is the ability to camouflage well. While some creatures blend into their surroundings, others look so disgusting that even starved predators hesitate to eat such prey. This is the “tactic” chosen by the Australian beetle, which resembles a cross between bird droppings and a corpse infected with fungal infections.

According to IFLScience, a strange long-legged beetle was discovered by a team of scientists from the University of Queensland (Australia) during an expedition to the rainforests of Australia on the Gold Coast.

At first, scientists could not identify the beetle and even used specialized groups on social networks, but even there no one could help. It was only when experts examined the Australian National Insect Collection in Canberra that they identified the species as a new one from a previously unknown genus, Excastra albopilosa.

The scientists explained that they chose the name based on location and appearance: for example, Excastra in Latin means “from the camp,” and albopilosa means “white and hairy.”

The unusual appearance of the insect, according to experts, may be an example of Batesian mimicry - an evolutionary “trick” that can make harmless species appear more dangerous than they actually are.

The punk beetle's fine white hairs have evolved over time, giving the insect a sickly appearance, as if it were infected with a fungus. Because of this, Excastra albopilosa looks unappetizing to predators.

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