Scientists find water beetle 'hotspot' in arid Northern Cape

2016-01-07 16:59
Tucked away in the arid Northern Cape lies the Papkuilsfontein Waterfall, a veritable 'hotspot' for a diverse rainbow nation of water beetles. (Picture: Plymouth University)

Tucked away in the arid Northern Cape lies the Papkuilsfontein Waterfall, a veritable 'hotspot' for a diverse rainbow nation of water beetles. (Picture: Plymouth University)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town – A freshwater canyon tucked away in the generally arid Northern Cape has proven to be a "hotspot" for water beetles.

Scientists from Plymouth University recently discovered six new species of the aquatic variety during a two-day research trip at the Papkuilsfontein Waterfall.

The research was being led by Reader in Aquatic Biology, Dr David Bilton.

"Six new species in two days is an astonishing number of water beetles from a small semi-arid area, and this suggests that additional unknown species live in the region," he said.

"It seems the reliable winter rains of the Bokkeveld not only support a unique flora, but have also allowed the survival of lots of freshwater life."

Further investigations were under way in an attempt to build a comprehensive picture of the biodiversity in the Namaqualand hotspot.

Scientists were curious to know why so many species were able to survive and thrive.

A species of Pterosthetops was found abundantly on wet rocks in waterfall splash zones. A species of Mesoceration, only known from one specimen, was found in a rocky pool in a drying temporary stream.

Both had yet to be named.

Last year, Bilton was responsible for identifying a striking new species of beetle with no direct relatives, living on the outskirts of Cape Town.

The Capelatus prykei, discovered within the Noordhoek Wetlands, was placed in a new genus all of its own.

On the left, a species of Pterosthetops. On the right, a species of Mesoceration. (Picture: Plymouth University)

Read more on:    marine life

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.