Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year:Glowing Cockroaches For All!

 So let's start a new yearly tradition: Find our favorite new species discovered this past year. There were a lot of cool things, including a tyrannosaurid and a smallish extinct felid from Tibet. My pick, however, goes to...

Via Pintrest.

...a cockroach. An adorable, glow-in-the-dark cockroach, but still a cockroach. It has been dubbed  Luchihormetica luckae, with no good common name. We'll just call him "Lucky" for the rest of this entry; nobody wants to write that name out ten plus times, and face it, this is one of the more likeable cockroaches out there. Just don't get any ideas about stealing his Lucky Charms. He really doesn't like that.

Here's why this little cockroach of glowy awesomeness was picked over a T-Rex relative: I have never seen anything like Lucky! It's apparently mimicking another toxic, glow in the dark insect called a click beetle. This beetle is toxic; that paint job is warning colors. This is the only known instance of a glow being used as mimicry. Yeah, these guys will survive the apocalypse just fine.

Bioluminescent bugs are rare. The most commonly-known ones are glow worms and fireflies. Along with glowing on its body, the "eyes" on its glowy outline are pools of bioluminescent bacteria. Don't "ew" that - if you didn't have E.coli in your gut, let's just say digestion would be a lot harder. It's exciting to have another glowing bug to add to the short list!

Lucky was found in the rainforests of Ecuador near an active volcano. That's a pretty bizarre environment if you think about it. There cannot be too many rainforests like that around, meaning that this cockroach might only be able to live in that one area. Save the rainforest - it has neon roaches! It sounds weird to use a cockroach as a reason to protect the rainforest, but darnit, this is a gorgeous one!

Happy New Year! May many new species be discovered in 2014!