New Samoan beetle species discovered, already extinct

Holotype specimen of Bryanites graeffii. Image credit: J.K. Liebherr

From Sci News:

Bryanites graeffii: New Beetle Species Described from 150-Year-Old Museum Specimen

Jan 11, 2017 by News Staff

A new species of ground beetle has been identified by Cornell University Professor James Liebherr.

Bryanites graeffii is described from Samoa based on a single male specimen collected between 1862-1870 that was recently discovered in the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris,” Prof. Liebherr said.

“The species epithet honors Dr. Eduard Graeffe, zoologist and naturalist from Zurich, Switzerland who collected the specimen while working in Samoa from 1862-1870. The species epithet is formed from Gräffe converted to Latin iconography, and without the terminal letter,” he explained.

The new species belongs to Bryanites, a genus of beetles in the family Carabidae that was previously known from two species represented by two specimens only, collected in 1924 from Savai’i Island, Samoa, by Edwin H. Bryan, Jr., Bernice P. Bishop Museum in Honolulu, during the Bishop Museum’s Whitney South Seas Expedition.

Much like the rest of the species within the genus, Bryanites graeffii showed vestigial flight wings and other traits associated with flight-wing loss.

However, at length of 1.62 cm it is the largest for the taxonomic group it is now assigned to.

Although this may seem way too obvious for taxonomists to overlook, the beetle’s relatives are just as obscure.

“As a result, we now have three species representing an evolutionary radiation in Samoa, all known from single specimens collected long ago,” Prof. Liebherr said.

The phylogenetics of the three Bryanites species link them to other groups from Fiji and New Zealand.

“What is the advantage of knowledge about species that existed some 90-150 years ago, but no longer? It might actually point us to the actual level of impact mankind has on natural ecosystems,” Prof. Liebherr said.

“The cause of the likely extermination of Bryanites graeffi might never be known with certainty, however, the colonization of many Pacific islands by the Polynesian rat has always been followed by the diminution or elimination of native insect species.”

“Thus, we can add another likely victim to the list of species that have been adversely impacted by mankind’s commensal voyagers.”

A detailed description of Bryanites graeffii appears in the Jan. 5 issue of the journal Zoosystematics and Evolution.

Rare rhinoceros beetles saved

This is a 2013 video from the Netherlands about rhinoceros beetles and their larvae.

They are a rare species in the Netherlands.

On 2 December 2013, many rhinoceros beetles in Noord-Brabant province in the Netherlands were saved from death.

Translated from Omroep Brabant in the Netherlands, 1 December 2016:

A while ago, Hans van der Staak received a special phone call. He works at Den Ouden in Schijndel, a company that makes compost from wood chips. “A customer called. He had a big wood chips pile which had been lying there for years.”

Hans went to check and made an extraordinary discovery. “I quickly saw traces of larvae and immediately recognized that it had to be rhinoceros beetles.” The huge pile of wood chips proved to be special.


“What do you do with such a mountain?” Hans asked. “It would be a shame to compost it.” He called the Brabants Landschap conservation organisation. When they discovered it was the indigenous rhino beetle they wanted to have the pile of wood chips.

On Friday [2 December], several trucks will bring the mountain of wood chips to the Herbertusbossen [woodland owned by Brabants Landschap] in Heeze.

South African dung beetle video

This video from South Africa says about itself:

23 November 2016

A dung beetle rolls his dung ball away from a midden before another male comes in and steals it.

Beetle eats dead beetle, video

This 25 October 2016 video shows a Nicrophorus vespilloides burying beetle eating a dead dung beetle.

On the burying beetle’s head, mites travel along.

Christ Grootzwagers in the Netherlands made this video.

Beetle eats grub, video

On this 3 September video by Silvia Hellingman from the Netherlands, a common sun beetle eats a grub of another beetle species, of the Scarabaeoidea superfamily.

Rare stag beetle, video

This 19 July 2016 video shows a stag beetle.

Chris Meewis made this video in the Veluwe region in the Netherlands.

Beetles of the Dutch Veluwe region

This 10 July 2016 video from the Veluwe region in the Netherlands shows a rare green rose chafer.

This 10 July 2016 video from the Veluwe region in the Netherlands shows an attack by red wood ants on an Anomala dubia beetle.

This 10 July 2016 video from the Veluwe region in the Netherlands shows Anomala dubia beetles trying to escape from a red wood ant.

This 12 July 2016 video from the Veluwe region in the Netherlands shows a dung beetle digging itself out from under the ground.