[Taxacom] De-extinction & Rhachistia aldabrae

JF Mate aphodiinaemate at gmail.com
Wed Oct 22 10:13:30 CDT 2014

Hi Bob,

I agree the scale is altogether different but even in densely
populated areas in Australia even basic invertebrate biodiversity
knowledge is lacking. The decline in "natural history" amateurs is
global and cannot be compensated by the explosion of macrophotography
since they (mostly) are taking pictures of "bugs": bigger, smaller,
red, blue or yellow. If you don´t know what you are photographing then
it is like it doesn´t exist. For Europe (with some exceptions) the
decline may not be as damaging. The fauna is well known and there are
plenty of guides and keys that digital enthusiasts could use. The goal
here has at least been partially achieved. In Australia, other than
butterflies and a couple of other popular groups you are out of luck.

Cristian. Spain is in a similar (albeit not as extreme) situation to
Australia. High biodiversity, incomplete knowledge but a declining
body of amateurs (and legislation that doesn´t help either).



On 21 October 2014 14:35, Cristian Ruiz Altaba <cruizaltaba at dgcc.caib.es> wrote:
> Redicovery of "extinct" taxa can happen anywhere.
> The giant pearlmussel (Margaritifera auricularia) is not a small thing and
> its shells are impossible to go unnoticed. It had been eagerly sought after
> by legions of shell collectors (and the few serious malacologists) for
> almost a century. This in western Europe. Everybody thought it was extinct,
> although due to a beneficial typo it was not declared so by IUCN.
> The species was alive and (still) doing fine. When I published this in 1990
> I thought the species would be saved and even reintroduced widely. We even
> had a big European project, and had success in rearing it in captivity.
> Sadly, thanks to extreme incompetence and bad faith on government officials
> and some museum researchers, the species is now really at the brink of
> extinction.
> Sincerely,
> Cristian
> -----"Taxacom" <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> escribió: -----
> Para: aphodiinaemate at gmail.com
> De: Bob Mesibov
> Enviado por: "Taxacom"
> Fecha: 21/10/2014 09:18
> cc: gread at actrix.gen.nz, TAXACOM <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Asunto: Re: [Taxacom] De-extinction & Rhachistia aldabrae
> 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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