Five-year long survey bear fruits; long-horned Chinese beetle discovered in Arunachal Pradesh

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Pasighat, November 2: A five-year long struggle finally started bearing fruits as a team of entomologists, who conducted long five-year survey on existence of beetle species in Arunachal forests, have discovered a new species of long-horned Chinese beetle in natural vegetation. The beetle (Rhytidodera griseofasciata) belongs to Cerambycid group, was earlier spotted in Yunnan province of China. The discovery of the beetle species in the border state for first time has drawn attention of scientists.
The team of entomologists led by Dr. M M Kumawat, Assistant Professor (Plant Protection) of CHF, Pasighat, who have conducted survey on "cerambycids" in the natural forest of the Himalayan state, has found the new species near Pasighat town. The 27 mm-long brownish color male insect has 20mm- long antenna. The beetle has been sent to New Delhi based National Pusa Collection for preservation.

Accordingly the scientists, beetles come under order Coleoptera are largest group having as many as 3, 50,000 to 4, 00,000 species. It covers about 40 per cent of all insect species and nearly 30 per cent of total animals. These are forest insects that constitute one of the largest groups of wood-boring beetles, dead wood feeders. The newly discovered Chinese beetle is also a wood-boring beetle, which usually make tunnel on standing tree trunk.

Scientists said that study on the wood-boring beetles is important as these are damaging forest trees in the state and posing threat to the terrestrial ecosystem. They observed that complex geography and natural factors supports rich entomological fauna enabling the cerambycids for better survival in the natural forests of Himalayan region, news agency The Arunachal Times reported.

The survey was supported by Dr. K. Mamocha Singh, Assoc. Professor of College of PG Studies, CAU, Barapani and Dr. V.V. Ramamurthy of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI). They have collected 49 species of cerambycids from Arunachal forests, out of which seven species were newly reported from the state. Dr. Bhanu P Mishra of CHF, Pasighat said that the beetle species (longicorn) were collected from ornamental plants, old and fresh wooden logs, leafy trees and weeds in the forest and also using light traps during night hours.

The research history including new discovery of Chinese beetle has been published in the Journal of Threatened Taxa with title "A Checklist of the Long-horned beetles of Arunachal Pradesh, Northeastern India with Several New Reports", published in October, 2015 edition.

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