New longhorn beetle from Cusuco National Park – Honduras

This charismatic new species of longhorn (Derobrachus cusucoensis) from montane forest in Cusuco National Park adds to the biological valorisation of the area. A small isolated mountain, part of the Merendon mountain range, Cusuco National Park is a cloud forest park characterised by a high endemism. As in many other places in Honduras, deforestation is a serious threat. The newly described large beetle is a frequent visitor of the light trap surveys as part of the yearly repeated biodiversity monitoring by Operation Wallacea in collaboration with BINCO. BINCO specializes in the documentation of smaller and less studied taxonomic groups to complement local conservation efforts and help protect these unique ecosystems. The species is described in the scientific journal Zootaxa and can be retrieved here.

Two newly described spider species from Uganda and Madagascar

Two spiders new to science were discovered and described by BINCO members under the supervision of African spider specialist Rudy Jocque. Koen Vanderhaegen discovered Dusmadiores elgonensis in coffee forests on Mount Elgon (Uganda) in 2015 during fieldwork for his PhD. The species was named after the study site where it was discovered and the description was published in the scientific peer-reviewed journal Zootaxa. A spectacular white wolf spider was discovered by Merlijn Jocque in 2012, and collected by Siel Wellens in 2016 in northwestern Madagascar in collaboration with Operation Wallacea. The spider was found on a few white sand beaches of inland lakes, surrounded by dry forest. The species was named Ocyale ghost, referring to its white habitus and a wink to the large white direwolf in Game of thrones. The description appeared in the European journal of Taxonomy.

Short note: Crested rat in Ethiopia

During our expedition in Southwest Ethiopia last year (2014), we discovered a crested rat (Lophiomys imhausi) on one of our camera traps which, to our knowledge, is the first capture of this species on a camera trap in the wild. This elusive rodent has never before been recorded in Afromontane rainforest West of the Rift valley. In this short note, published in the African Journal of Ecology, we add our observation to its previously known distribution.

The original camera trap recording:


Article with recent findings of the shining guest ant in Flanders

Our finding of a worker of the shining guest ant (August 2014, during the translocation of wood ant nest domes) was not the only one in recent years. According to the Red List of endangered species the shining guest ant status is vulnerable, but probably the species is more common than we think. Her presence often goes unnoticed because of the hidden lifestyle and small size. Observations of this species, along with a suggestion to revise the Red List status were brought together in this article (English abstract only) in the Bulletin of the Royal Belgian Entomological Society.

The shining guest ant – Third observation in Flanders

The shining guest ant (Formicoxenus nitidulus) is threatened with extinction according to the Flemish red list. Our observation of this species in Zoersel is the third in Flanders. These small ants (2-3 mm) are only found in and around nests of their hosts: red wood ants. Since red wood ants (of which 4 species occur in Belgium) are already relatively rare and protected, their guests suffer the same fate. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) marks the shining guest ant as Vulnerable. A typical and easily recognisable trait (when using a microscope) is a small forward-pointing spine on the underside of the second node of the abdomen (post-petiole).

For the publication, cick here (English abstract only)

For more information about this species:

First Baird’s tapir from Honduras caught on film

During a Binco Express Inventory last June in the Pico Bonito National Park in Honduras one of our cameras caught a Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii) on film. Although being photographed several times with a camera trap, this is the first time that this species in Honduras was filmed. The Central American tapir or Baird’s tapir has a weight of 300 kg, the largest species in the family on the American continent. Hunting and loss of habitat are the main threats to this species and their numbers dwindle rapidly. This species is noted on the IUCN Red List as endangered. Pico Bonito is one of the few areas in Honduras where there are still healthy tapir populations. This is mainly due to the steep terrain that is difficult accessible to people. Our observations were transferred to the Honduran wildlife department (ICF) and Panthera.

Caught on film: Wild boar in Sint-Agatha-Rode

Trail cameras recorded some wild boars in Sint-Agatha-Rode. More info in Dutch.

Another new species from French Guiana

The discovery of an additional new species form the Roche-la-Virginie (French Guiana) has been published in the journal Zootaxa. The new species is a spider that is adapted to the microhabitat created by the leaves of Bromelias, hence its name Charinus bromeliaea.