Sat, Aug 25, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Researchers find three new beetle species in Kenting

LIGHTING UP THE DARK:The scientists have said the findings highlight the biodiversity of Kenting and the important role darkling beetles play in it

Staff writer, with CNA

A Taiwanese team has found four new species of darkling beetles in southern Taiwan, according to the Kenting National Park Headquarters.

Three of the discoveries were world firsts, while the other was a species’ first sighting in Taiwan, the park said.

The discoveries were made by a team of Taiwanese researchers, led by assistant professor Lan Yen-chiu (藍艷秋) of the University of Kang Ning and professor Lee How-jing (李後晶) of National Taiwan University, as part of a three-year study of the insects in Kenting National Park.

The three newly discovered beetle species have been named Cryphaeus lanae, Androsus taiwanus and Paramisolampidius kentingensis.

The habitat of the Cryphaeus lanae beetle is a sandy area in Kenting (墾丁), while the Androsus taiwanus is also found mainly in Kenting, the researchers said.

The Paramisolampidius kentingensis makes its home in low-lying areas of southern Taiwan, they said.

The species found in Taiwan for the first time — Nesocaedius minimus — is known to reside in Palau and the Japanese areas of Tanegashima, Amami Oshima and Yonaguni, the team said.

The discovery allowed researchers to link Japan and Palau in their effort to map the species’ distribution across geographical areas, the team said.

The findings underscored the diversity of the beetles in Kenting National Park and have spurred on the search for other unidentified species, park officials said.

Darkling beetles, often found in rotting wood, play an important role in an ecosystem’s food chain because they feed on fungi, the officials said.

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