‘Odd’ New Beetle with No Close Relatives Gets its Own Genus

posted: 05/07/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Capelatus prykei
David Bilton/Plymouth University

A newly discovered beetle is so unique that researchers have placed it in a new genus of its own. Discovered in South Africa, Capelatus prykei's closest relatives are diving beetles native to the Mediterranean.

"Capelatus prykei immediately looks odd, quite unlike any previously known diving beetle. It's fairly common to find new species of beetle, but it's much less usual to find things which are so different they have to be put in their own genus. Our study of DNA sequences shows that the closest relatives of Capelatus live thousands of miles away, and that they last shared a common ancestor around 30-40 million years ago," said Plymouth University's Dr. David Bilton.

The beetle measures less than half an inch (10mm) long. It was discovered in the dense venation of South Africa's Noordhoek Wetlands, which Bilton describes as "one of the most biologically unique places on the planet".

Bilton worked in conjunction with colleagues from Plymouth and the Museum of Zoology in Munich; their research is published in the latest edition of Systematic Entomology.

Click here for more information from Plymouth University

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