Museums of Natural History are an important source of evidences of existing variety and diversity of animal species. Many species lie on shelf, waiting for years and years to be discovered. A new study published in the open access journal ZooKeys reveals 4 new genera and 4 new species of bush crickets discovered in museum collections to prove the value of these institutions.
One of the four new bush crickets, Arostratum oblitum, has in fact been waiting for over 100 years to be discovered and described. This curious fact also inspired the name of the new species to be 'oblitum', which means 'forgotten' translated from Latin.
During his research, the author of this study examined many specimens of Orthoptera Phaneropteridae of sub-Saharan Africa kept in different Natural History Museums across Europe (Berlin, Madrid, Terrasini, etc.).
"My study supported by Synthesys project demonstrates that we have missed many interesting taxa once collected and put in museum collections and the forgotten for a long time. Probably many other new species are waiting to be discovered." comments the author of the study, Dr Bruno Massa from the Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo.
The new species of bush crickets come from Central Africa, which is one of the Orthoptera richest areas of the world. Even if many studies have been carried out since 1800, this wide geographic region still hides many unknown taxa.
Massa B (2015) New genera, species and records of Phaneropterinae (Orthoptera, Phaneropteridae) from sub- Saharan Africa. ZooKeys 472: 77-102. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.472.8575