New Fluffy Beetle Discovered in Australia

The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, recently announced that their PhD student, James Tweed, discovered a new longhorn beetle species in the rainforest of Lamington National Park.

Tweed was camping when he noticed something unusual on a leaf of mat rush (lomandra) plant. Initially thinking it was bird droppings, the researcher took a closer look and to his amazement, it turned out to be a red and black longhorn beetle that was covered in patches of white hair, giving it an unusually fluffy look.

Once he returned from his camping trip, Tweed wanted to find out more about the insect but discovered that he couldn’t find anything similar using scientific literature and online sources. Upon contacting the Australian National Insect Collection, he was notified that he not only discovered a new species but a whole new longhorn beetle genus.

Tweed had the honor of naming the beetle, choosing the name Excastra albopilosa.

“We chose the name Excastra for the genus, which is Latin for ‘from the camp’, and for the species name, we decided on albopilosa which translates to ‘white and hairy’,” Tweed said in a press release shared by University of Queensland.

The researchers are now looking to gather more information about the fluffy beetle. They are particularly puzzled by its white hair, which they assume might be a defense mechanism, mimicking the effects of insect-killing fungus.

“I’ve been back several times to look for more of them but haven’t had any luck,” Tweed added.