Museums of natural history are an important source for finding new insect species. Sometimes species lie on shelves or in drawers for years and years, waiting to be discovered. For example, a beetle discovered by Charles Darwin sat in a museum for more than 150 years until it was identified as a new species last year.
Now a new study published in the journal ZooKeys reveals four new genera and four new species of bush crickets that were discovered in museum collections.
One of the four new bush crickets, Arostratum oblitum, has been waiting for more than 100 years to be discovered and described. This curious fact also inspired the name of the new species — “oblitum” means “forgotten” in Latin.
During his research, the author of the study, Dr. Bruno Massa from the University of Palermo, examined many specimens that were kept in natural history museums in Berlin, Madrid, Terrasini, and other European cities.
“My study, supported by [the] Synthesys project, demonstrates that we have missed many interesting taxa once collected and put in museum collections and then forgotten for a long time,” Dr. Palermo said. “Probably many other new species are waiting to be discovered.”
The new species of bush crickets come from Central Africa, which is one of the richest areas of the world for Orthoptera — the order to which bush crickets belong.
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