Australian Insect Discovered recently Nearly Mistook for bird Droppings

What’s crimson, ebony, and covered in fur? A recently discovered bug species in Australia has caught the attention of many due to its unique appearance.

Some have even referred to it as a “punk beetle” because of its shaggy white locks.

During a camping trip, a researcher from Queensland unexpectedly came across a fluffy creature, which they initially mistook for bird droppings.

“It’s quite exceptional.” “There aren’t many insects out there that possess that characteristic,” James Tweed informed the BBC.
The national science agency CSIRO has confirmed that it has discovered a completely new family of longhorn beetle.
Upon discovering a small white object on a leaf in the Gold Coast hinterland in December 2021, Mr. Tweed initially paid little attention to it.

However, upon closer inspection, the entomologist discovered an insect that was completely unfamiliar to him.
“It measures approximately one centimeter in length… and is adorned with lengthy, soft white hairs,” he stated.
“Many of the hairs stand upright, creating a distinctive appearance reminiscent of a mohawk.”
With great enthusiasm, he captured and gathered the beetle for further examination.
Unable to find any answers in a Facebook group dedicated to insect enthusiasts, Mr. Tweed, a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland, decided to seek help from the CSIRO’s Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC).

“I had the opportunity to collaborate with some colleagues who are experts in the field of beetles. They have extensive knowledge and experience, having studied numerous specimens from various museums across Australia and beyond. Surprisingly, this particular beetle had eluded them until now.”
Scientists have previously made interesting discoveries about various insect species, such as hairy caterpillars and a jet black ant with a fiery orange mane, both found in Queensland. However, this particular bug stood out from the rest.
“I haven’t come across any other insects that sport a hairstyle quite like this one.”
This particular species stands out from the rest, so much so that it has been recognized as a distinct genus or family of longhorn beetles by the ANIC. It goes by the name Excastra albopilosa, with Excastra referring to “from the camp” in Latin and albopilosa meaning “white and hairy”.
The scientists are uncertain about the reason behind the bug’s furry appearance. However, they speculate that it may have developed this trait to resemble a fungus-infected insect, possibly as a defense mechanism against predators.

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“Until someone finds more there’s a lot of unanswered questions here.”

According to Mr. Tweed, the ability to document even a single beetle is a significant achievement for the scientific community.
“It’s challenging to protect species when their existence remains unknown to us.”
“It’s wonderful to see this beetle receiving significant recognition and serving as a representative for insects and conservation.”

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