Click here to view some of the photos. There are not 101 posted online; only a few. I chose this one because I thought it was the most striking.

 A photo of the Trigonopterus echinus

 

Trigonopterus Echinus

Photograph courtesy Alexander Riedel

TheTrigonopterus echinus, characterized by a round shape and short yellow scales resembling spines, got its name from the Latin word for hedgehog.

Traditionally, taxonomists used only morphological, or structural, characteristics to describe each species. This method can prove problematic when distinguishing among a large number of species that closely resemble one another.

Advanced technology allows scientists to record the DNA sequence of every beetle, improving their ability to accurately and efficiently size up closely related species. Rather than examining the various morphological traits of each beetle, entomologists can quickly check different DNA sequences through BLAST, a search tool for comparing molecular data.

"It is quite easy to identify species that are identical or closely related to the ones at hand," Riedel said, adding that the new method also enables researchers to keep descriptions of morphological characteristics brief and concise.

Tags: Papua New Guinea, beetles, insects, weevils

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