Scientists Discover New Insect on Easter Island

It's rare good news on the damaged island
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2010 3:36 PM CDT
Scientists Discover New Insect on Easter Island
A file photo of giant volcanic rock statues called moai on Easter Island.   (AP Photo/La Tercera, File)

A new insect species has been discovered in a cave on Easter Island, a significant find given that most of the island's indigenous life has gone extinct, reports LiveScience. The insect is so new it has yet to be named, but it's a type of book louse about the size of a grain of rice. Easter Island, once a tropical environment, was stripped of much of its life through a complex convergence of deforestation and the introduction of non-native species.

"This was once a tropical island with tropical vegetation," said the lead researcher. "Now it basically looks like Scotland." The reseachers, however, had a hunch figured that the caves on the island may have provided shelter from the environmental changes, and looked there. "Maybe we can find more organisms that are residual fauna that have been able to weather the environmental degradation on the island by retreating to caves," said the researcher.
(Read more Easter Island stories.)

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