7 min read

Researcher Heriberto-Lopez

Its always good to hear of new visitors enjoying our wonderful island. However, I guess it is even better to learn about a resident that has been lurking on the island for thousands of years; not the same one, of course, but a family member.

No, I am not talking about some ancient drag queen, who is suddenly discovered in an embalmed condition in the cellar of a long forgotten show-bar in Playa del Ingles, but a new species of beetle.

Love them or hate them, beetles (not drag queens) are all part of the Canary Islands’ package of experiences, alongside cockroaches, millipedes and spiders.

This new species of beetle is called Oromia thoracica, not the catchiest name I grant you, but the people who study such things can be a tad boring when it comes to catchy sounding names. It is a blind weevil that lives beneath the depths of the Agaete Valley, to the north-west of Gran Canaria.

This area has some of the oldest soil on the island, somewhere between 5 and 23 million years old, but it is hard to be accurate about such matters, which can be irritating for those who like detail.

This new beetle, now commonly known as Thor, popped into the radar in the subsoil in this fertile valley about six years ago.

Traps were duly laid, but Thor and his kind are canny creatures that deceived the investigators until recently when five of them fell into a trap following a heavy night out on the town. When they awoke two days later, it was too late, because the scientists had discovered them and, sadly, they were popped into a collecting jar.

Now this is the part where it all gets a little personal. What Thor lacks in size, since he is not a big boy at less that five millimetres long, he gains in his extremities that are longer and flatter than his cousins.

This is actually a very useful attribute, because it means that Thor and his family can adapt more easily to life in their underground environment and narrow cracks, where headspace is at a bit of a premium. Thor and his family are blind, but are all dressed in rather natty reddish-brown jackets, which is typical of subsoil insects.

The clever thing about Thor is his thorax, which extends over his head as a sort of heart shaped shield, perfect for the more romantically inclined mate, which makes him unique from other species, but his opening line of "Love me, love my thorax", can be a little daunting to a potential mate.

When it comes to fine dining, forget it, because Thor indulges in the rotting roots of bushes prevalent in the Agaete Valley, which makes him cheap, if not boring, to feed. Still, if you are looking for a cheap night out…

Apparently, the underground world of Gran Canaria is still a bit of a mystery, but there are many more surprises in store, to which I am sure many of our visitors will testify.

However, I am referring to biodiversity, since the island is considered to be a real hotspot for future discoveries. I am told that a new species is discovered on the island every six days or so, which is an amazing statistic. Meanwhile, I wish Thor and his family well, but he should warn the rest of his species to keep away from the traps that lie in wait in the Agaete Valley.

If you enjoyed this article, take a look at Barrie’s websites: www.barriemahoney.com and www.thecanaryislander.com or read his book, ‘Expat Voice’ (ISBN: 9780992767174). Available in paperback, as well as Kindle.

iPhone/iPad and Android Apps: ExpatInfo, CanaryIsle and CanaryGay now available.

© Barrie Mahoney

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/47607/

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