We're finding new fauna in some of the most heavily-populated areas on earth.
April 5, 2002 9:43 AM   Subscribe

We're finding new fauna in some of the most heavily-populated areas on earth. It sort of makes you wonder what how many species we never even know about as we slash and burn great hunks of the rain forests, wooded areas, and other biodiverse areas of the world. (And good grief, those bugs are huge!)
posted by mrmanley (9 comments total)
Here are some more details about the Jerusalem beetle.
posted by mrmanley at 9:55 AM on April 5, 2002

"I found the cure for the fucking plague of the twentieth century and now I've lost it!"
posted by hincandenza at 10:14 AM on April 5, 2002

Thank you, Sean.
posted by grabbingsand at 10:57 AM on April 5, 2002

Anecdote: one of my strongest memories of childhood is that of seeing this really odd insect on the siding of our house. Never saw anything like it since then, it was so unusual. Sort of a cross between a dragonfly and a wasp, but fluorescent green/yellow in color, with almost transparent wings. Went in to the house to grab a jar, came back, and it was gone. Wouldn't surprise me a bit if it were an undocumented species. I'm sure theres more out there, in middle America, on the great plains.

And, yeah, that damned bug is BIG.
posted by yesster at 11:45 AM on April 5, 2002

I've run into a few (smaller) Jerusalem crickets when I lived out West. They're harmless: but creepy, nonetheless. We'd move them to Grandma's rock garden whenever we found them. Grandpa never let us kill any bugs around the house unless it was a roach.

Big is when you nick a tarantula with your tires as you drive on a dirt road and it walks away from the "accident".
posted by onhazier at 11:57 AM on April 5, 2002

One way to view is "My God we're wiping out species like this all the time".

Another way is to acknowledge that nature is a hell of a lot hardier than we give her credit for. Or, even more radically, maybe the new environments in densely populated areas ADD some species (although clearly they are deleting some as well, can't argue that one--surely we've lost some micro-ecosystems, but that raises the "So what?" question...).

I think I need to read up on this--it's always bugged me (no pun intended) that mankind is arrogant enough to believe that we are having anywhere near as radical an impact on the ecology as, say, an asteroid strike. Thoughts?
posted by Rubicon1 at 2:01 PM on April 5, 2002

Maybe now we'll find Bigfoot.
posted by mikhail at 2:15 PM on April 5, 2002

They're crickets, not beetles. I saw many in SoCal when I lived there. They look as though they're made of some kind of translucent plastic. Their heads are disproportionately large and they have this vacant expression so they end up looking like little plastic toy dolls. They're called Tierra Ninas in Spanish, i.e. earth babies, which is apt.
posted by TimeFactor at 2:54 PM on April 5, 2002

Just for the hell of it, more big bugs!
Note the charming weta. Smaller varieties of this beastie were quite common on the farm where I grew up, nightmares persist from the cave episode, where I'd advanced about six yards before flashing the torch over the ceiling.
posted by Catch at 3:08 PM on April 5, 2002

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