A National Tainan University project to document known and newly discovered insect species at the Taijiang National Park recently rediscovered three kinds of rare insects that had not been seen for about a century, the park said.
The three species are the Bembix formosana, the Ascalaphus placidus and the Asclepios apicalis, the park said.
University Department of Ecology professor Chang Yuan-mou (張原謀) said that all three species have only just been rediscovered, adding that the last sighting of the Bembix formosana was about 100 years ago, while sightings of the other species last occurred more than a century ago.
Park conservation division director Huang Kuang-ying (黃光贏) said the park last year commissioned the university to document the insects in the park, adding that the project had discovered insects that are not even listed in the national insect encyclopedia.
According to the project, the Bembix formosana was found mostly between the river and the windbreaker tree line, with its food source primarily being flies that hover around abandoned clamshells originating from clam farms in Tainan.
As the type specimen designated for the Bembix fomosana — initially discovered in 1913 — is located offshore, it has been difficult to pinpoint what it looked like for many years, Chang said, adding that digital archives have aided in identifying the specimen.
The Ascalaphus placidus was mostly found in the park’s wetlands. First discovered by Hans Sauter in 1912 in what is now the city’s Anping District (安平), it has not been seen for the past century, Chang said, adding that it is possible the species is restricted to the Taijiang area.
The Asclepios apicalis, discovered in 1921 by Teiso Esaki, also in Anping District, is the only other type of water striders to be found near the sea, Chang said, adding that it is also the only type known to reside in mangrove areas.
It had not been seen since 1924, he said.
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