California: Undergraduate student discovers new species of firefly

There is nothing more beautiful and fascinating in the world than to witness a firefly show at twilight as the day turns into night. A scene of breath taking wonder for me! And if you have some collected in a bottle…then you have the perfect glow in the dark lamp!

Recently, a new species of this spectacular insect was discovered in southern California by an undergraduate student at the University of California-Riverside by the name of Joshua Oliva.

Oliva discovered the new species while collecting insects in the Santa Monica Mountains for his entomology class.

The new species of firefly is only about half a centimeter long and has a very small luminescent organ located on the tip of its tail.

Doug Yanega, the senior scientist at the UC-Riverside Entomology Research Museum, said that “One reason we are bringing this discovery to the public’s attention is that it seems likely that this beetle may be highly restricted in distribution, and the habitat where it occurs may require consideration for some level of protection, at least until we can learn more about it.”

As for the discoverer of the insect, Joshua Oliva, he is applying to UC-Riverside’s graduate program in entomology. Oliva said that he is hoping his discovery will give him a boost on the competition and mentioned that “discovering a new insect sure looks good on the application.” Best of luck to the lucky guy! How often do you hear of a person discovering a new insect!

The Lion King sure helped develop kids interest in the insects a little more with this fun conversation.

Pumbaa: Hey, Timon, ever wonder what those sparkly dots are up there?
Timon: Pumbaa, I don’t wonder. I know.
Pumbaa: Oh. What are they?
Timon: They’re fireflies. Fireflies that, uh… got stuck up on that big bluish-black thing.
Pumbaa: Oh, gee. I always thought they were balls of gas burning billions of miles away.

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