A new species of Neotropical Orthopteran has been described by INHS Entomologists Sam Heads and Steve Taylor. Ripipteryx mopana belongs to a group of small and unusual insects related to grasshoppers that includes the North American pygmy mole crickets.
This new species comes from the Toledo District of southern Belize, an area of tropical rainforest that is largely unexplored by entomologists. It was named in honor of the Mopan, a Mayan people that live primarily in the area of Belize where the species was discovered. The entomologists will return to the region this coming spring to study the local insect fauna in more detail.
“Belize is famous for its biodiversity, but very little is known about
the insects of the southern part of the country and this is particularly
true of the Orthoptera” said entomologist and lead author on the paper,
Sam Heads. The Orthoptera are the order of insects that include the
familiar grasshoppers, crickets and their relatives. “Ripipteryx mopana
is the first representative of it’s family ever to be found in Belize”
said Dr. Heads.