New Life Form Discovered at Truck Stop

Biologist makes big find en route to collecting trip
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2011 3:22 AM CDT
Updated Apr 30, 2011 8:34 AM CDT
New Life Form Discovered at Truck Stop
The Mantophasmatidae order of carnivorous insects is an entire branch of species that was only discovered in 2002.   (Wikimedia/ P.E Bragg)

(Newser) – The world is teeming with undiscovered species, as biologist Piotr Naskrecki discovered at a ... South African truck stop. Naskrecki was part of a team hunting for specimens of Mantophasmotes—an entirely new order of carnivorous insects only discovered in 2002—in a remote area of Namibia. When he paused at what he describes as a "filthy truck stop" en route to a collecting trip, he discovered not only eight new species of Katydid, but a new species of Mantophasmote.

The find highlights the fact that there are "still more unnamed species than named species on Earth, some of them very near to where we live," notes Rob Dunn in Scientific American. "Discoveries are possible everywhere." As Naskrecki also learned, however, if you're going to to go around truck stops at night with a headlamp and bottles of ethanol, you're likely to end up having to explain yourself to authorities. (In other fascinating science news, click to read about the link between armadillos and ... leprosy.)

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