Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New insect order found

18.04.2002


Two cricket-like creatures establish new insect group.


Probably the remnants of what was once a larger and more widespread group.
© Science


Long lost relative of the stick insect.
© Science



The first new order of insects to be discovered for more than 80 years has emerged from the mountains of Namibia. The order’s first official members are two creatures about 2 cm long that look a bit like a cross between a cricket and a stick insect1.

The group, called Mantophasmatodea, joins the other 30 or so insect orders such as beetles, flies and termites. "If it was in mammals it’d be like discovering bats," says Dick Vane-Wright, head of entomology at London’s Natural History Museum.


Klaus Klass, of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and his colleagues unearthed specimens languishing unidentified in museums, found fossils preserved in amber, and discovered living insects on a trip to Namibia. Now the team has published a description of two species. Three or four more await description, says Klass.

The living Mantophasmatodea dwell in grass on a mountaintop. They seem to be predators - their stomachs contained remains of other insects.

The fossil Mantophasmatodea are 40-50 million years old, some come from Europe. This implies that the African insects are the remnants of what was once a larger and more widespread group.

Vane-Wright compares the insects to the Coelacanth, the ’living fossil’ fish recently rediscovered in the Indian Ocean. "Mantophasmatodea might be a major group on the verge of extinction, or it might just have been overlooked," he says.

An order is one of the higher categories used to group species - we of the species homo sapiens belong to the order primates, for example. Biologists define such categories by identifying sets of characteristics shared by a group of species but not found in any other group.

Group dynamics

The Mantophasmatodea’s relation to other insects is uncertain. Klass and his colleagues suspect that they are closest to the stick insects and a small group called the Grylloblattodea, found on mountaintops in North America and Asia. Grylloblattodea was the last new order discovered, in 1914.

Sequencing the insects’ DNA might clarify their place in the tree of life. Evolutionary biologist Michael Whiting, of Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, is doing this at the moment. But we shouldn’t expect cut-and-dried answers, he says.

"We’ve known about the other orders for centuries, and we still haven’t worked out their relationships," Whiting says. "This is one more piece of a large and complex puzzle: it’s exciting to have the piece, but it’s not going to provide the answer by itself."

References

  1. Klass, K.-D., Zompro, O., Kristensen, N.P. & Adis, J. Mantophasmatodea: a new insect order with extant members in the Afrotropics. Science Published online(2002).


JOHN WHITFIELD | © Nature News Service

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>