[Taxacom] De-extinction & Rhachistia aldabrae

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Tue Oct 21 02:16:17 CDT 2014

Jason Mate wrote:

"I think this simply highlights how thin on the ground amateur entomologists are in Australia. If a large, colourful ladybird can hide in the most populous state in Australia, what hope is there for the other 99% of inverts?"

'Thin' is right. There are a *lot* of amateur naturalists and nature macrophotographers in Australia, but Australia is a big place. And most Victorians live in the Melbourne metropolitan area.

The most bug-diverse Australian State is Queensland, which has ca 4.7 million people on a land area of 1.73 million sq km, or ca 2.9 people/sq km on average, which is unrealistic because most Queenslanders are in the big population centres. Compare that to

UK:	64m	on 0.24m sq km, 256/sq km
Metro France:	64m on 0.55m sq km, or 116/sq km
Germany:	81m on 0.36m sq km, or 226/ sq/km

and Queensland is less than 1/4 of the Australian mainland.

'...what hope is there for the other 99% of inverts?' There's not much hope for a complete inventory of Australia's larger invertebrates, ever, and vastly less hope for realistically assessing the conservation status of any but a few particularly glamorous bugs.

To add to the difficulty, our bugs have an annoying habitat of varying in abundance in cycles of up to several decades. The Miena Jewel Beetle (Castiarina insculpta) from Tasmania was known from 2 specimens, one taken before 1934 and one in 1965. Then a few turned up in the 2000s and into the 2010s. In 2013 they suddenly seemed to be everywhere on Tasmania's Central Plateau. (Google 'Observations of the Miena Jewel Beetle Castiarina insculpta (Carter, 1934) in the summer of 2012−13' for a PDF)

Note that jewel beetles, like ladybirds, are noticeable and keenly sought by collectors.
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Land and Food, University of Tasmania
Home contact:
PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
(03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195

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