CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Feb. 12 (UPI) -- After a 180-year absence, a rare -- and, until now, unnamed -- species of beetle, first discovered by Charles Darwin in 1832, has been given a genus and species name.
The newest member of the rover beetle family, which features some 58,000 species, will be called Darwinilus sedarisi. The genus name, Darwinilus, for the scientist, and the species name, sedarisi, offered as homage to David Sedaris, the American humor writer.
The specimen was first collected by the father of evolutionary theory on a field expedition in Argentina. But, until recently, it was lost inside London’s Natural History Museum, where no one had ever gotten around to classifying the unique beetle.
The Darwin beetle reemerged in 2008 at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga after an entomologist borrowed some insects from the institution.
"I received on loan several insects from the Museum in London, and to my surprise I realized that one of them was collected by Darwin," said Dr. Stylianos Chatzimanolis. "Finding a new species is always exciting, finding one collected by Darwin is truly amazing."
The announcement of the new beetle arrives on Darwin Day, February 12, the great theorists's 205th birthday, and was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.
Unfortunately, the new species may already be gone. Only two specimens exist, both collected before 1935. Most of its known habitat has sense been converted into agricultural lands.