Thorn bug is rediscovered in Medellín after 170 years

A species of insect was rediscovered after 170 years in Medellín, this was announced by the municipal mayor’s office this Saturday. In addition, the administration assured that this occurs thanks to the work of environmental restoration in strategic ecosystems.

These restoration works, which have been developed within the framework of an investigation by the CES Unicersidad, They were made in the San Pedro reserve in the Santa Elena district where a thorn insect reappeared.

It is the Bubalopa furcata species, endemic to Colombia, and so far it had only been recorded in the Central Cordillera. What is known of its biology is given from the specimens observed in the San Pedro reserve in Santa Elena, according to the mayor’s office.

Although there are no precise details of the locality where it was observed 170 years ago, there is information that this species it was collected in Colombia and described in 1846 by a French entomologist and is deposited in a collection in Europe.

“The San Pedro reserve in the village of Santa Elena is a natural habitat for our biodiversity where a species of thorn insect was rediscovered after 170 years. This record fills us with pride and indicates that the protection we are doing in our strategic ecosystems is being successful, guaranteeing the natural habitat to a great variety of species of flora and fauna ”, expressed Luis Humberto Ossa, undersecretary of Renewable Natural Resources of the Ministry of the Environment.

A lonely and hard to find spice

This species lives on the Senna pistaciifolia or ‘alcaparro’ plant, as it is known in the capital of Antioquia. In general, it is a solitary species, difficult to find, mainly because it camouflages itself very well with its host plant.

The report provided by the mayor’s office on the finding indicates that, like the rest of the species in the thorn family of insects (Membracidae), this insect feeds on the sap of the plant. Due to its rarity, not much is known about its biology and its interaction with other organisms.

Like other phytophagous insects that feed on plant matter, it could be assumed that this species interacts with organisms that eat and need them, such as parasitoid wasps, predatory insects and even some vertebrates such as birds. Therefore, they can be important in the food web of this ecosystem.

Likewise, the report points out that being lonely, these insects do not cause significant damage to plants.

“The rediscovery of this species of thorn insect is very important because it allows us to see how the ecosystem in this area has been improving due to assisted regeneration and how many species are interacting with the environment,” said Camilo Flórez Valencia, a researcher at the University CES.

Likewise, he assured that the case of this thorn insect “its biology was only known from a museum specimen, kept 170 years ago. This allows us to see the importance of caring for and protecting the strategic ecosystems of the city that harbor a diversity that we do not know ”.


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