New insect species found in Thailand

May 24, 2007

A U.S. entomologist has discovered several new aquatic insect species in Thailand and some of the bugs pack quite a powerful bite.

University of Missouri-Columbia researcher Robert Sites said some of the newly discovered insects have a serious bite.

"It's much, much worse than a bee or wasp sting," said Sites. "I was bitten in the pad of my little finger, and I felt intense pain all the way to my elbow for a good 30 minutes."

Working with researchers from universities in Thailand, Slovenia and the United States, Sites discovered more than 50 new insect species during a three-year study in Thailand's national parks.

Of the discoveries, Sites has formally described 12 of the new insects and prepared written detailed analyses of their physical characteristics. He said six belong to the family Gerridae, commonly referred to as water striders; the remaining are members of the family Aphelocheiridae. Despite the painful bite, none are dangerous to humans, Sites said.

Sites' findings are being published on an on-going basis. His most recently published study appeared in the March issue of the journal Annals of the Entomological Society of America.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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