Mysterious Metriophasma of the Manu Jungle
To all the bug fanatics out there, this post features a very special Phasmid (stick insect) to the PawsForWildlife team. The story starts when my brother, Tristan Bawn, took a trip to the Manu Jungle in Peru, whilst there he snapped a shot of a very pretty looking Metriophasma. I was unable to identify the species and eventually was put in contact with the world expert on neotropical phasmids, Oskar Conle. After viewing the photo (unfortunately we had no specimen), Oskar commented:
"I am 90% sure, that this is a new species (genus Metriophasma). I would have to take a look at the ventral side to be safe."
Unfortunately the ICZN have strict rules on nomenclature and refused us permission to name it, even with the positive comments from Oskar. Without a specimen we are unable to do anything, we do not know this species rarity, or lifestyle, and maybe never will. But we have taken it upon ourselves to name it anyway, until someone else may cross paths with it and name it officially!
Unfortunately, 7 years after our first enquiry I have heard once again from Oskar. He was able to confirm (from a larger, sharper image) that this is in fact a rare Metriophasma (Acanthometriotes) crassus. Although disappointing that it is not a new species, the specimen here is a male and is still yet undescribed by science (only a female has been brought back to study) so it is still very special. So our mysterious Metriophasma journey has come to an end, I will attempt to create a Metriophasma (Acanthometriotes) crassus fact file page soon...watch this space!