St Lucia’s forests reveal the smallest beetle in the world
CASTRIES, St Lucia — St Lucia maybe home to the smallest beetle in the world according to the results of the Bio-Physical Resource Inventory assessment which ended in July, 2009. Dr Michael Ivie, a beetle specialist who has assembled the world’s largest collection of West Indies beetles, announced in his recent presentation to the Forestry Department that an unknown species measuring a third of a millimetre has been discovered in St Lucia.
Scientists collecting samples
“The smallest beetle ever to be recorded was the one-millimetre long feather-winged beetle in the United States,” said Dr Ivie. “The specimen found here does not belong to the feather-winged family or any other known family of beetles. If we are correct St. Lucia may be a candidate for having the smallest beetle in the world.”
26 workers and scientists from around the world and St Lucia participated in the 3 month assessment where more than 1400 species of beetles were expected to be found on the island.
Dr Ivie stated that only 172 species of beetle were documented before the assessment and believes the team has already found over 500 species with over 200 of them endemic to St Lucia. “There are a lot of specimens we have collected which we have never seen before,” said Ivie. “The way things are going, St.Lucia may have an endemic beetle for every square mile and we are only half way through the inventory.”
The assessment by Dr Ivie was done under the National Forest Demarcation and Bio-Physical Resource Inventory Project for the Forestry Department, under the European Union funded SFA2003 Programme, Environment Management Fund which is managed by the Banana Industry Trust (BIT).