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Ten new cockroach species uncovered in Tasmania

Ten new cockroach species uncovered in Tasmania DISCOVERY: QVMAG natural sciences collections officer Simon Fearn displays some of the 10 new cockroaches discovered in Tasmania since 2014. Picture: Phillip Biggs
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DISCOVERY: QVMAG natural sciences collections officer Simon Fearn displays some of the 10 new cockroaches discovered in Tasmania since 2014. Picture: Phillip Biggs

TweetFacebook Discover the new cockroaches found in TasmaniaPictures: Phillip BiggsMost people squirm even atthe word cockroach, but did you know 10completely new species have been discovered in Tasmania since 2014.

Three of the new specieswere found inQVMAG natural sciences collections officer Simon Fearn’s backyard.

While some might be turning away in disgust at the thought of more cockroaches, Mr Fearn said the bad rap was not justified.

About five out of 5000 species of cockroaches were pests, contaminating food and spreading disease.

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“Just a handful of urban, introduced cockroaches are giving the whole group a bad name, whereas the majority are actually doing us a service.”

The new species have never been recognised by science before because no one ever noticed them, Mr Fearn said.

“They have yet to be formally described by a taxonomist.”

That was whennew species were given a scientific name after a taxonomist compared the species with all other specimens of species, which was a lengthy, scientific process.

It was a crucial point as it meant it would be established and recognised as a new species by the scientific community

“As you can imagine, there are not a lot of taxonomists in the world whospecialise in cockroaches.”

He estimated only two or three people in the world, and only one in Australia, who were able to scientifically describe cockroaches as someone needed to have a comprehensive knowledge of the entire species.

“We are constantly finding cockroaches in our field work that have yet to be named.”

It might take years for any of them to be named, Mr Fearn said.

He has also discovered several mainland cockroaches in Tasmania after they hitching a ride across Bass Strait.

As for the other crittershe has found in his quarter acre block, Mr Fearn said he has already documented 700 different species.

“At the rate tropical forests are being cleared around the world, there would be no question that there would be lots and lots of insects becoming extinct.”

The Examiner

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