Unfortunately, the times when new species were described in Central Europe on a regular basis are long gone. However, the rainforest on the island of Papua New Guinea offers such an unexplored species treasury. Let's go together with Jiří Háva from FLD CULS and his Polish colleague to the tropical zone to discover a new species of beetle.
During an expedition to the tropical rainforest in 1993, a new representative of the innumerable family Dermestidae was discovered. This inconspicuous two-millimetre beetle living in a canopy has been named Orphinus missae and we classify it in the subfamily of megatominae. It is the sixth representative of the genus Orphinus in Papua New Guinea and only the fourteenth of the megatominae. Currently, descriptions of other new species of this genus are prepared from this area.
However, for this species to penetrate the world nomenclature, its representatives must be described in detail morphologically. This is best done under a microscope after boiling in an alkaline potassium hydroxide solution for about ten minutes. Subsequently, we can learn all the details about it, starting with the density of hair and ending with the shape of the penis.
In addition to reports of declining natural ecosystems and pressure on biodiversity, the discovery of a new species may act as an excuse for human activity. However, we must not forget that hitherto undiscovered species live in forgotten parts even without our intervention, while the long-discovered ones often balance on the edge of the abyss often thanks to human activity. Let's believe that Orphinus missae avoids a similar fate.
Kadej, M., Háva, J. (2013): Description of a new species of Orphinus Motschulsky 1858 (Coleoptera: Dermestidae: Megatominae), with a key and checklist of known species from Papua New Guinea. Australian Journal of Entomology 52, 315–319.
Jiří Háva (* 1972)
He works at the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences at the Department of Forest Protection and Entomology as a project manager and publishes taxonomic and faunal articles on beetles.
Prepared by: Jiří Lehejček