Nav: Home

The first case of a Portuguese beetle living exclusively in groundwater

January 08, 2019

A diving beetle demonstrating various adaptations to the life underground, including depigmentation and evolutionary loss of eyes, was discovered at the bottom of a clay pound in the cave Soprador do Carvalho, Portugal. The species turned out to be the very first in the whole order of beetles (Coleoptera) to be known exclusively from the underground waters of the country.

Despite not being able to find any other specimens during their study - save for the single female, the team of Dr Ignacio Ribera, Institute of Evolutionary Biology (Spain) and Prof Ana Sofia P. S. Reboleira, University of Copenhagen (Denmark) identified the beetle as new to science, thanks to its unambiguous morphology in combination with molecular data.

Aptly named Iberoporus pluto in reference to the ruler of the underworld in Greek mythology Pluto, the species was recently described in the open-access journal ZooKeys.

With a uniformly pale orange body measuring 2.8 mm in length and 1.1 mm in its widest part, the beetle is larger than the rest species known in its genus, and its appendages are longer and more slender. While blindness and depigmentation are clear adaptation to life away from sunlight, the elongated limbs and antennae reflect poor swimming abilities needed in a subterranean habitat. Going for 4 km in horizontal direction, Soprador do Carvalho is the largest in the Dueça cave system, located in the north-eastern part of the Sicó karst area in central Portugal. In recent years, the cave is being explored for tourism.

"The knowledge of the subterranean fauna from Portugal has significantly increased over the last decade, with the description of a high number of obligate subterranean species (tripling their number) and the establishment of new biogeographic patterns," explain the authors of the study. "A high number of these species are stygobiont (i.e. confined to groundwater), mostly from wells in the north of the country, where evapotranspiration is higher."
-end-
Original source:

Ribera I, Reboleira ASPS (2019) The first stygobiont species of Coleoptera from Portugal, with a molecular phylogeny of the Siettitia group of genera (Dytiscidae, Hydroporinae, Hydroporini, Siettitiina). ZooKeys 813: 21-38. https://doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.813.29765

Pensoft Publishers

Related Beetle Articles:

Symbiotic bacteria: From hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
An international team of researchers have discovered a remarkable microbe with a Jekyll and Hyde character.
Scientists decipher the nanoscale architecture of a beetle's shell
Ruiguo Yang, assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and his colleagues found a way to analyze the fibrous nanostructure of a beetle's lightweight but durable shell.
Deciphering the beetle exoskeleton with nanomechanics
Northwestern Engineering's Horacio D. Espinosa and his group employed a creative way to identify the geometry and material properties of the fibers that comprise a beetle's exoskeleton.
New species of ground beetle described from a 147-year-old specimen
While new species are most commonly described based on recent field collections, undertaken at poorly explored places, some are identified in museum collections, where they have spent decades before being recognized.
UBC researcher says management of pine beetle not working
A method to control the spread of mountain pine beetles -- pheromone baiting -- may actually help the pest's population increase, UBC research shows. he two-year simulation, which included then PhD candidate Shaun Strohm and University of Calgary professor Mary Reid, compared four separate management strategies: no management (monitoring only), pheromone baiting, tree removal, and finally, pheromone baiting combined with tree removal.
American scientists discover the first Antarctic ground beetle
Fossilized forewings discovered on the Beardmore Glacier revealed the first ground beetle known from the southernmost continent.
Too much sex causes genitals to change shape, beetle study shows
Sexual conflict between males and females can lead to changes in the shape of their genitals, according to research on burying beetles by scientists at the University of Exeter.
New evidence connects dung beetle evolution to dinosaurs
Researchers have found an evolutionary connection between dinosaurs and dung beetles.
Journal publishes doctoral candidate's findings on beetle promiscuity
Elizabeth Droge-Young's research focused on four possibilities: that mating benefits the female beetles by providing them with moisture; with nutrients in the ejaculate; with proteins that support egg laying; or with additional sperm.
Beetle-inspired discovery could reduce frost's costly sting
Researchers made a beetle-inspired surface that uses chemical micropatterns to control the growth of condensation and frost.

Related Beetle Reading:

The Book of Beetles: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred of Nature's Gems
by Patrice Bouchard (Author)

VW Beetle & Karmann Ghia 1954 through 1979 All Models (Haynes Repair Manual)
by Ken Freund (Author), Mike Stubblefield (Author), John H. Haynes (Author)

Beetles: The Natural History and Diversity of Coleoptera
by Stephen Marshall (Author)

Volkswagen Super Beetle, Beetle & Karmann Ghia Official Service Manual: 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977,
by Volkswagen of America (Author)

The Complete Book of Classic Volkswagens: Beetles, Microbuses, Things, Karmann Ghias, and More (Complete Book Series)
by John Gunnell (Author)

The Beetle Book
by Steve Jenkins (Author)

Dermestid Beetles: Successfully Raising Dermestes maculatus and Avoiding Common Problems
by J. A. Long (Author)

VW New Beetle 1998-2010 Repair Manual (Haynes Repair Manual)
by Haynes (Author)

Lalylala's Beetles Bugs and Butterflies: A Crochet Story of Tiny Creatures and Big Dreams
by Lydia Tresselt (Author)

Volkswagen Beetle and Karmann Ghia Service Manual, Type 1: 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969
by Inc. Volkswagen of America (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Approaching With Kindness
We often forget to say the words "thank you." But can those two words change how you — and those around you — look at the world? This hour, TED speakers on the power of gratitude and appreciation. Guests include author AJ Jacobs, author and former baseball player Mike Robbins, Dr. Laura Trice, Professor of Management Christine Porath, and former Danish politician Özlem Cekic.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#509 Anisogamy: The Beginning of Male and Female
This week we discuss how the sperm and egg came to be, and how a difference of reproductive interest has led to sexual conflict in bed bugs. We'll be speaking with Dr. Geoff Parker, an evolutionary biologist credited with developing a theory to explain the evolution of two sexes, about anisogamy, sexual reproduction through the fusion of two different gametes: the egg and the sperm. Then we'll speak with Dr. Roberto Pereira, research scientist in urban entomology at the University of Florida, about traumatic insemination in bed bugs.