Thirty new species of flies which have never been seen before were discovered in Los Angeles. This discovery was made by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County through the project called BioSCAN (The Biodiversity Science: City and Nature).
The flies were insects trapped in local yards and were named after the residents of the homes from where they were collected. The 30 new species were discovered in only 3 months. More details about the discovery will be given in April in the journal Zootaxa. The museum says that it is quite unique to describe 30 species in a single paper, but more striking than that is the fact that so many new species were discovered in the Los Angeles urban space.
The newly discovered species are all members of the phorid family, a family which is smaller than the usual flies that we notice every day. Phorid fly expert and curator of entomology at the museum, Brian Brown, said that most people do not even notice this kind if flies. However, in spite of this, they do an incredible number of things which are important for the proper functioning of our ecosystem.
The project that the museum conducted (BioSCAN) has been going on for 3 years. The investigators analyzed patterns of biodiversity all over urban Los Angeles. Local residents were also involved in the study. They hosted the 30 sampling sites, each of it having a continuously operating insect trap and a microclimate weather station. The citizens who volunteered in the project had to change the collection tubes in the traps every week. Every few weeks they handed the insects that they had trapped to a museum representative.
Emily Hartop, the lead author of the research, has examined over 10.000 species of phorid flies. It took her 3 month to identify the 30 new specimens. This project is an undeniable proof of the extraordinary level of biodiversity which remains undiscovered even in areas which are heavily influenced by humans.
Brown said that people are healthier when they are surrounded by biodiversity. A city which is more conductive to biodiversity it is a better place for living for everyone. Having discovered these new findings researchers are planning to further analyze how biodiversity is influenced by urbanization. By doing this new policies could be devised in order to plan and manage urban support ecosystems.
Image Source: BioSCAN Buzz