Brazilian researchers have discovered a new species of fungus gnat (Keroplatidae) whose larvae emit blue light. The small fly inhabits an Atlantic Rainforest reserve in São Paulo State. This is the first record of a blue bioluminescent species in the Neotropics. Many bioluminescent insects and fungi have been studied in the region, but all emit green, yellow or red light. The new species has been named Neoceroplatus betaryiensis and is described in an article in Scientific Reports.
"The larvae were found while bioluminescent mushrooms were being collected and drew attention because they emitted blue light. Fungi and fireflies don't emit blue light, so it had to be a new species," Cassius Stevani, a professor at the University of São Paulo's Institute of Chemistry (IQ-USP) and last author of the article, told.
Study - Part - Thematic - Project - Electronic
The study was part of the Thematic Project "Electronic chemiexcitation in biological systems: bioluminescence and photochemistry in the dark", for which Etelvino José Henriques Bechara, a professor at IQ-USP, is principal investigator.
According to Stevani, species that emit blue light had previously been found only in North America, New Zealand and Asia. This one was found in Reserva Betary, a privately held Atlantic Rainforest reserve in Iporanga, São Paulo State, bordering the Upper Ribeira State Tourist Park (PETAR).
Biologists - Isaias - Santos - Grant - Johnson
Biologists Isaias Santos and Grant Johnson, a US-born technical trainee with a scholarship from São Paulo Research Foundation—FAPESP, participated in the collection expedition. Both work at the Biodiversity Research Institute (IPBio), a nongovernmental organization that runs Reserva Betary, offering tourism, environmental education and research opportunities there. Many of the world's species of bioluminescent mushrooms can be found on the property.
The new species of bioluminescent insect was described by entomologist Rafaela Falaschi, currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Ponta Grossa (UEPG). The species epithet (betaryiensis) refers to the Betary, a tributary of the Ribeira.
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org