We’ve mentioned before that scientists have identified approximately 1 million insect species and some predict there may be 10 or even 30 million more not yet spotted by man.
According to Floyd Shockley, the collections manager of the entomology department at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, “They’re small, they’re fast, they’re highly diverse, and they can occupy almost any niche… every time we get one of these studies, it helps us improve the model so we can see how much we haven’t discovered.”
In a study published in last month’s Nature scientific journal, researchers led by Brazilian entomologist José Albertino Rafael located over 37-thousand insect specimens, many of which were previously undiscovered. While many scientists have explored the Amazonian rain forests in search of new species, Rafael’s team took a different approach.
Instead of crawling on the ground or even collecting at the human level, the team went up 105 feet toward the sky. Setting collection traps at eight meters (26 feet) and 32 meters into the air netted them more far more diverse species than found at ground level. In fact, almost 62% of the insects they captured – most of them flies – did not show up at ground level.
A Whole New View
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County was brought in to identify the specimens collected, noting that in some cases they struggled to identify the genus of insects, let alone the species.
If you’re trying to remember your high school biology texts right now, we can help. Modern humans are homo erectus. Homo is the genus, erectus is the species. So these insects were not easily classified as Musca (genus of house flies) or Drosophila (genus of fruit flies) or any other group we had already identified.
For the team tasked with identifying them it was like exploring a brand new, undiscovered continent, there was so much diversity. It will likely take years to determine where they all fall and identify which are entirely new species. New to humans anyway.
A Time and Purpose
While many of you may be cringing at the thought of even more varieties of flies and airborne insects, scientists are quick to point out that they’re all here for a reason. Especially in the forest, flies can be more important to the survival of the ecosystem than mammals and birds. They participate in pollination, pollution control, recycling and more. God has carefully crafted our world to work in harmony.
On the other hand, what’s great for the rain forest isn’t always perfect for our homes. Domestic flies sometimes pollinate but more often carry disease, microscopic feces, and all sorts of disgusting things. Here at Good News Pest Solutions, we handle most of the creepy crawlies that pester our Florida homeowners and businesses with Go Green Perimeter Plus. And if you’re having trouble with flies in particular, we offer specialized services to take care of them too. For more details, just give us a call!
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