The young and the restless Joshua Oliva became famous this summer after discovering a new species of firefly in his residence area, California. The kid is an entomology passionate and it shows indeed, as his hobby lead him to fantastic discoveries.
Joshua made the breakthrough discovery a month ago, when a senior scientist at the Entomology Research Museum confirmed that the insect he brought for analysis was a new species of firefly.
Southern California is not a common habitat for fireflies, which makes the little insects be rarely seen . The Entomology Research Museum at UC Riverside holds fewer than 30 local firefly specimens in its collection.
The undergraduate stumbled upon the little insect while jogging In the Topanaga Canyon together with his mother. The new species is named after Joshua’s mother, Oliva, as she is the reason why they went walking in the area in the first place.
Mr Doug Yanega, senior museum scientist, rapidly identified and confirmed that the lightning bulb which is half a centimeter long and black colored is a completely new species, worth its place in the Museum’s collection of insects. The animal differentiates from other species by an orange halo resembling pattern, placed on the shield that covers its head.
There are 2.200 known species of fireflies worldwide, out of which 56 belong to the state of Florida and 18 are reported in California. The new creature adds up to the California biodiversity, allowing us to believe that there is still a chance for ecosystems to evolve, even at a very small scale.
There is still hope for nature to progress, as luminescent fireflies have been seen in the Santa Monica Mountains and Laguna Mountains in San Diego. Few of them have been spotted in Mountains San Jacinto and Upper Lytle Creek in San Bernardino County.
The few species discovered in Southern California have been found near springs, seeps and streams. The fireflies are highly active in summer months when the sun is up, fact confirmed by museum’s officials who stated that every firefly specimen in their collection was caught between May and July.
Well, if the museum is not your favorite cup of tea when it comes to doing a little research over biodiversity, you are most likely to find fireflies near a natural source of water on a summer night. If you are lucky enough and you turn your flashlight off, you have the best chance of seeing a little glow coming from the tiny creature.
Image Source: scoopnest.com