A new species of moth was discovered in Australia. Actually, the species of moth is so old, that scientists are calling it a living fossil. The results of the research are published in the journal Systematic Entomology.
The new species of moth discovered in Australia has feathered wing tips, the females are a striking metallic purple color and the makes are golden. This moth actually represents a whole new family of moths and it appears that they are quite primitive.
The researchers who made the stunning discovery are from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO. They dubbed the new moth Aernigmatinea glatzella or enigma, in short. The most is tiny, only 10 millimeters in length but it has already made a huge impact in the entomology world, as it is believed to be a living dinosaur.
The enigma moth was discovered in South Australia, on Kangaroo Island. So far, scientists only found it there, on the Southern Cypress pine tree, which is also a very ancient piece of fauna.
The lifespan of this new species of moth couldn’t be shorter: in one day, the adult moth bursts from its cocoon, it mates and then it dies.
Ted Edwards, CSIRO researcher, revealed that analysis of the moth’s DNA and also its appearance show that the evolution of butterflies and moths is even more complex than it originally believed. It appears that this new species of moth is turning the entomology world upside down.
Edwards states that aside from the fact that the discovery reinforces the evolutionary relationships between various other primitive families of moth, it also suggests that tongues evolved in butterflies and moths more than once.
The scientists who made the incredible discovery know that further observation and study is needed. Australia seems to be the perfect location for such a endeavor, as it is home to around 22,000 species of butterflies and moths.
Edwards stated that Australia’s fauna is so exciting and the fact that new primitive species can still be found there is amazing. He concluded:
Australia is so rich in moths that vast numbers still remain to be discovered.
Image Source: Entomology Today