A NEW species of beetle, described as a “real evolutionary relic”, has been discovered by a team of international researchers in an area of wetlands near Noordhoek.
The dark brown beetle Capelatus prykei, which measures between 8 and 10mm, was investigated after being netted by researchers at the base of dense tussocks of grass.
According to a research team headed by Dr David Bilton, of Plymouth University in the UK, the beetle bears little similarity to other types of beetles found in the Western Cape, and indeed in most of Africa. Its closest relatives are today found around the Mediterranean and in New Guinea.
Bilton and his colleagues, including Plymouth entomologist Clive Turner and researchers from the Museum of Zoology in Munich, published their findings in the latest issue of the journal Systematic Entomology.
In a media release, Bilton, who has studied water beetles here for a number of years on annual field trips, said the find was unexpected: “(The beetle) immediately looks odd, quite unlike any previously known diving beetle.”