Scientist Camping On Australia's Gold Coast Accidently Discovers Incredible New Species

A scientist camping in an Australian rainforest has discovered a fluffy new species of beetle. University of Queensland researcher and entomologist James Tweed made the discovery at the Binna Burra Lodge, situated in the rainforest of Queensland’s Gold Coast Hinterland. Initially mistaking it for bird excrement, Tweed's scientific curiosity made him have a closer look. The beetle, measuring 9.7mm, showcased an eye-catching red and black colouration adorned with lengthy white hairs. In his quest to classify the beetle, Tweed consulted numerous resources including books, scientific articles, and online databases, yet found no similarities. It wasn’t until he reached out to the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC) in Canberra that the beetle was recognised as a novel species. When Tweed visited ANIC to compare his discovery to their huge collection, everyone realised it was not just a new species, but a new genus – a family of species – as well. He discovered the new species in December 2021, but it is only being made public now as verifying it is a long process. Tweed said chance discoveries like his show how many unknown species could be out there and how many of those could be under threat of extinction.