As the name said Discovering New Species consist in discovering New Species of Insects.
At Wired Amazon, in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest of Tambopata, Madre de Dios - Peru we’re working with 4 groups or Taxonomic Families; Arctiinae or Tiger Moths, Cicadellidae or Leaf Hoppers, Membracidae or Treehoppers and Ichneumonidae or Scorpion Wasps. The project is based on Citizen Science making all guests from Refugio Amazonas jungle lodge involved.
We use several different types of traps like yellow buckets traps, malaise and light traps to collect the insects inside the families we’re studying. The collected insects are analyzed, classified and processed in our Open Lab to send them with their specific specialist to finally know if we have or not a new species.
After the first process inside the lodge, we send the samples to the Natural History Museum in Lima. There, the tiger's moth specialist Juan Grados classified the specimen within physical feathers, genitalia analysis, and genetic tools. He sends the specimens, apart from Tiger Moths, to their specialists around America.
To get the Genetic support we’re using a technique known as Barcoding, for this we’re working with Guelph University located in Ontario Canada because they’re running a massive international project called Bold that means “Barcode of Life Database”.
To increase our collection we work hand in hand with guests that chose the “Discover New Species” activity at the lodge. Guests join the biologist team after dinner and walk to a light trap set up in the middle of the jungle. There, they learn about entomology, how to identify the groups that we’re studying and create awareness of the relationship between insects and the whole tropical ecosystem. If that night, a guest collect a New Species they have the great opportunity to name it!! Could you imagine visiting the Peruvian Amazon Jungle and returning to your home with a New Species named by yourself? You can make this happened with Wired Amazon.
Why is important to become a citizen scientist?
Insects are the base of all ecosystems considered as “all those small things that support the world” (E.O Wilson). They accomplish key roles as pollination, supporting up to 80% of the production of fruits and vegetables, nutrient recycling and decomposers of organic trash. Also, control pests of important human crops, are base of any known ecosystem within thousands of functions.
Only in United States insects generate 57 thousands millions of dollars without counting pollination. Around the world, there are more than 2 million people that feed directly on insects.
Since February 2016 more than 1,500 people had participated in the program discovering 9 new species of tiger moths and 2 Scorpion wasps helping us, at Wired Amazon, make science happen. Join Us.