New Miniature Grasshopper-like Insect Is First Member of Its Family From Belize

The tiny insect from the Toledo district is named in honour of the Mopan people

on February 15, 2012 5:06 PM EST

Ripipteryx mopana
This is the new insect, Ripipteryx mopana. (Photo: Sam W. Heads, Steven J. Taylor)

Scientists at the University of Illinois, USA have discovered a new species of tiny, grasshopper-like insect in the tropical rainforests of the Toledo District in southern Belize. Dr Sam Heads and Dr Steve Taylor co-authored a paper, published in the open access journal ZooKeys, documenting the discovery and naming the new species Ripipteryx mopana. The name commemorates the Mopan people - a Mayan group, native to the region.

Like Us on Facebook

"Belize is famous for its biodiversity, although very little is known about the insect fauna of the southern part of the country. This is particularly true of the Orthoptera - the grasshoppers, crickets and katydids" said entomologist and lead author on the paper, Dr Sam Heads. "The new insect is the first representative of it's family ever to be found in Belize. Given the amount of high quality habitats in the region, it isn't really surprising that new species still await discovery, especially in the less -explored areas" added Dr Heads.

Just less than 5 mm long, the insect is a tiny, black, white and orange coloured, grasshopper-like species that uses its large jumping hind legs to escape predators.

"Very little is known about the biology of this genus and its closest relatives" said Heads, who specializes in the study of orthopteran insects. "The group as a whole is rather poorly studied and even though we continue to document new species, we still have a long way to go".

Provided by Pensoft Publishers

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Sponsored From Around the Web

    ZergNet
Follow iScience Times
us on facebook RSS
 
us on google
 
Most Popular
INSIDE iScience Times
Do Dolphins Get High? BBC Cameras Catch Dolphins Chewing On Pufferfish Toxins
Do Dolphins Get High? BBC Cameras Catch Dolphins Chewing On Pufferfish Toxins
How Many Ways Can You Tie A Tie?
How Many Ways Can You Tie A Tie?
Ribbon Of Charged Particles At Solar System's Edge Acts Like A Wind Sock For Interstellar Magnetism
Ribbon Of Charged Particles At Solar System's Edge Acts Like A Wind Sock For Interstellar Magnetism
How to Turn Your Tap Water Faucet  Into a Coffee Spout [VIDEO]
How to Turn Your Tap Water Faucet Into a Coffee Spout [VIDEO]
Coolest Science Photos Of 2013: From Blobfish To Two-Headed Shark, Comet ISON To Mars Selfie
Coolest Science Photos Of 2013: From Blobfish To Two-Headed Shark, Comet ISON To Mars Selfie
This Is A Scientifically-Proven Rock-Paper-Scissors Winning Strategy (But If Your Opponent Uses It Too, It's A Draw)
This Is A Scientifically-Proven Rock-Paper-Scissors Winning Strategy (But If Your Opponent Uses It Too, It's A Draw)