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First long-horned beetle live birth observed in Borneo

"This phenomenon have been known in a few lineages of the related leaf beetles, but this is the first case for the long-horned beetles," said researcher Radim Gabriš.

By Brooks Hays
The newly discovered <em>Borneostyrax cristatus</em> is the first long-horned beetle species to give live birth to her offspring. Photo by Radim Gabriš
The newly discovered Borneostyrax cristatus is the first long-horned beetle species to give live birth to her offspring. Photo by Radim Gabriš

OLOMOUC, Czech Republic, May 11 (UPI) -- For the first time, researchers have observed a long-horned beetle giving live birth. The phenomenon was discovered by Czech scientists conducting research in the mountains of Borneo.

Most insects lay eggs, with embryonic development happening outside the mother's body. Ovoviviparous species keep their eggs inside their genital tracts until their young are ready to hatch.

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Ovoviviparous species are rare among insects and even rarer among beetles. Borneo is full of surprises.

Researchers named the newest ovoviviparous species Borneostyrax cristatus. It belongs to the long-horned beetle family, Cerambycidae. With some 35,000 species, it's largest beetle group.

"We studied the diversity of the rarely collected wingless long-horned beetles from Borneo, which is one of the major biodiversity hotspots in the world," Radim Gabriš, an entomologist at Palacký University, Olomouc, said in a news release. "The mountains of northern Borneo, in particular, host a large number of endemic organisms."

"This phenomenon have been known in a few lineages of the related leaf beetles, but this is the first case for the long-horned beetles," Gabriš added.

The researchers focused on the little-studied group of wingless long-horned beetles. Scientists were surprised to find the lineage featured rich biodiversity. Their field studies revealed three new genera and four new species.

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The scientists published their findings in the journal ZooKeys.

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