June 24, 2020
I posted my first nature update on March 17, which means that today marks 100 DAYS of nature posts! In recognition of this large, round number, I figured I should post something a little special, so here's an undescribed species that was found right on my family property!
Awhile back, former VMNH Research Technician and current Clemson University grad student Curt Harden set up some subterranean beetle traps on my property. These are special traps of Curt's own devising designed to capture miniscule ground beetles. Curt is one of just a handful of folks in the world who studies these beetles!
When he checked the traps last November, he ended up finding a new species of ground beetle belonging to the genus Anillinus! Believe it or not, this beetle is only a little bit bigger than a pinhead, about two millimeters long. Curt plans to formally describe the species, but for now, it goes by the working name "Anillinus BEN," which I really like the sound of for some reason.
Curt has discovered several new species within the Anillinus genus, many of which are closely related. Because these beetles are so small and so seldom studied, there are likely a whole lot more new species to be found. These beetles live in the soil and are completely blind -- they don't even have eyes!
Curt hopes to eventually publish a thorough review of this entire group of beetles. In the meantime, if you'd like to read more about Curt and his passion for these seldom-seen beetles, please read this article I wrote last year about Curt's hunt for another elusive ground beetle, Serranillus septentrionis:
Thanks to Curt Harden for the photo and information! #BenInNature
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ABOUT THIS POST
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. While he is working from home, Administrator of Science Ben Williams is venturing outdoors each day to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world.
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