Researcher discovers 39 new cockroach species, increasing genus Arenivaga fivefold
Friday, February 28, 2014
Heidi Hopkins, a taxonomic researcher and PhD candidate at the Museum of Southwestern Biology of the, in , , , conducted a four-year study revising the genus of cockroaches, discovering 39 new species in the genus previously thought to contain 9 species. journal published her findings Wednesday.
The study involved examining over 5200 specimens from universities and collections throughout the United States. The researcher had to dissect the specimens' genitalia to accurately distinguish the species as their external features were often not enough for identification. Hopkins was advised by Dr Kelly Miller during the investigation.
The species are also sexually, making morphological association of females with males a challenge. The researcher published a key for adult males in the genus.
The study revealed a vaster distribution area than was previously thought, including additional regions in Southern US and over a half of Mexico.
Hopkins remarked about potential of further studies of the genus and, its parent family, "The extent of the radiation of this genus is quite surprising. These animals have remarkable adaptations that allow them to succeed in some of the harshest places on earth. I suspect that the thorough application of modern collection methods would reveal many more species of Arenivaga across Mexico, and many more species of Corydiidae in the deserts and dry places of the rest of the world."
The study was a first revisit of the genus since 1920 with only one new species discovered since then. The study was supported by grants from, , , and University of New Mexico.
- Heidi Hopkins. "Thirty-nine new species of endemic cockroach discovered in the southwestern US and Mexico" — , Februry 26, 2014
- Lydia Smith. "Cockroach Scientists Finds 39 New Species in US" — , February 26, 2014
- Heidi Hopkins. "A revision of the genus Arenivaga (Rehn) (Blattodea, Corydiidae), with descriptions of new species and key to the males of the genus" — , February 26, 2014