Researchers in Brazil have discovered eight new species of the katydid subfamily Listroscelidinae. In addition, they have redefined the tribe Listroscelidini and have added a new tribe and a new genus, based on morphological and molecular data. Their research was recently published in the journal PLOS ONE.
“These intriguing katydids of the subfamily Listroscelidinae are agile predators, easily recognized by their large jaws and long spines on the legs, especially in the fore tibia,” said Verônica Saraiva Fialho, one of the co-authors. “These spines probably help in the capture and maintenance of prey.”
The following video demonstrates this feeding behavior:
Led by Juliana Chamorro-Rengifo, a taxonomist of Tettigoniidae, the specimens were collected in 10 of 15 different conservation units of the Atlantic Forest, from northern Rio de Janeiro to southern Bahia.
The new genus is called Hamayulus, the name being derived from Hamãy, who is considered by the Pataxo Indians to be a mother of the forest and protector spirit of the animals. One new species, Hamayulus rufomaculatus, was added to the genus. The specific epithet refers to the red spots on its last two abdominal sternites.
The other new species are called Cerberodon portokalipes, Listroscelis magnomaculata, Listroscelis sooretama, Listroscelis cohni, Listroscelis fusca, Listroscelis monnei, and Listroscelis itatiaia.
Listroscelis cohni was named after Theodore Cohn, a “katydid specialist who recently passed away. He had a special interest in Listroscelidinae and studied Neobarretia, the only genus which represents this subfamily in North America.”
Listroscelis monnei is named after Miguel Angelo Monné, a “great taxonomist of Neotropical Cerambycidae (Coleoptera), curator of the entomological collection, and Emeritus Research at the Museu Nacional do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.”
“Unlike other katydids, these are hard to find and capture, which may explain the few reports in the literature,” said Verônica S. Fialho. “We observed a high degree of endemism among species of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest and a strict occurrence in fragments highly preserved and close to water. This fact worries us because it is a highly threatened biome. Our expectation is that this work will encourage new studies in other Brazilian biomes.”
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