Thursday, October 22, 2015

A new king cricket: Libanasa kilomeni

King crickets are also known as weta and can be found in a variety of environments including alpine, forests, grasslands, shrub lands and urban gardens. The family is widely distributed across southern hemisphere lands including South America, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. They are night active and many are flightless although several flying species exist in Australia. Their diet is diverse, rarely consisting of leaves, and more commonly a combination of other insects, fungi, dead animals, and fruit. An Australian king cricket can overpower and eat the deadly funnel-web spiders.

The new species was found in Tanzania. It was named after the village Kilomeni located beneath Kindoroko forest reserve in the North Pare Mountains.

For the experts: A new species of Libanasa, L. kilomeni, is described. In contrast to L. brachyura, an inhabitant of lowland wet to submontane forest along the Tanzanian coast and part of the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania, this new species is found in montane forest in the North Pare Mountains. L. kilomeni n. sp. is restricted to a small forest reserve and due to forest clearing at lower elevations probably driven to its upper ecological border. Therefore this species is considered endangered and
should be included in the IUCN red list.

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