Thursday, April 18, 2013

Forcepfly

It's not hard to see why this insect (Austromerope braziliensis) is commonly referred to as a forcepfly. But it is not easy to understand why this is only the third extant species of a family that has been around for 200 million years. It is theorized that the bugs divided into a northern and southern branch when the supercontinent Pangea broke up! This species was discovered in southeastern Brazil not too long ago, and described earlier this year. "The discovery of this new relict species is an important signal to reinforce the conservation of Brazilian Atlantic Forest biome. Certainly there are many more mecopterans species yet to be discovered in these forests," says lead author Dr. Renato Machado from Texas A & M University. Not much is known about forcepflies yet, except that they're capable of stridulation, which is the noise made by rubbing body parts together like a cricket. But that's not what they do with the forceps. Those are a special feature of the males, used to hold their mates in place.

 

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