February 21, 2018

Little-known Pygmy Grasshoppers lurk on jungle log

I seem to have stumbled on something interesting in the lowland jungle of Vietnam's Cat Tien National Park; literally stumbled, as I was examining a decaying log on the forest floor for fungi and anything else of interest.
I didn't have anything particular in mind, as I was only on a brief excursion to this area and was simply trying to get a feel for its biodiversity. But there they were: a pair of tiny brown grasshoppers, perfectly camouflaged on a section of decaying wood just above a protruding shelf fungus. If not for the fungus, I probably wouldn't have spotted them.
They turned out to belong to be Pygmy Grasshoppers from the family Tetrigidae which I had encountered only once before, in Turkey. Also known as ground hoppers, these little grasshoppers thrive in damp habitats, and this jungle, with the monsoon still in progress, certainly qualified.
What I didn't know, until contacted by an expert from the University of Zagreb who had found my photo on Flickr, was that they belonged to a species described only in 2015. Indeed, that was the first record for a new genus. although since then, I am informed, a congeneric species has been discovered in Thailand.
I doubt that very much is known about either species, even how common they are within their respective, yet-to-be-defined, distribution ranges, and I'm glad to have been of some slight assistance in that regard.
Amid all the doom-and-gloom about shrinking biodiversity, it's good to find new species popping up just because they have simply been overlooked!

Posted on February 21, 2018 14:22 by trcarlisle trcarlisle | 1 observation | 1 comment | Leave a comment