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Dublin: 4 °C Tuesday 25 February, 2020

New insect found on Polynesian island in the Pacific

Easter Island has yielded a tiny new scientific discovery.

Image: anoldent via Creative Commons

A NEW INSECT HAS BEEN DISCOVERED on an island on which all native life was thought to be extinct.

Scientists discovered the tiny insect, about the size of a grain of rice, on Easter Island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean.

Although scientists have yet to confirm if the insect really is native to the island, researcher Jut Wynne from the Northern Arizona Univeristy said: “This could be very important for piecing the natural history of the island together”.

Easter Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for hundreds of huge stone statues across the island.

The indigenous population was decimated in the 19th century by non-native diseases, and the island has also suffered years of serious environmental damage, reducing the island to a barren land.

Research scientist Jut Wynne said that his group had decided to focus on the island’s caves, resulting in the discovery of the new insect, LiveScience reports.

Wynne said the group will continue to search for other insects that may have avoided the island’s environmental deterioration: “Maybe we can find more organisms that are residual fauna that have been able to weather the environmental degradation on the island by retreating to caves”.

[caption id="attachment_35158" align="alignnone" width="544" caption="Photo credit: Jut Wynne, Northern Arizona University"][/caption]

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