Australian Camper Found a Fuzzy Beetle, And It’s a New Species

James Tweed, a researcher and PhD candidate at the University of Queensland’s School of the Environment, was camping near Lamington National Park near Queensland, Australia, when he spotted something that looked like bird poop. It wasn’t bird poop, though, it was a fuzzy beetle. And it wasn’t just any fuzzy beetle; it was a new species.

James Tweed
Image courtesy of James Tweed

Tweed told UQ (University of Queensland) News that when he realized what he was seeing on a leaf was a beetle, he thought it was “the most extraordinary and fluffiest longhorn beetle I had ever seen.”

He said the beetle measured less than half an inch (9.7 millimeters) and described it as “a striking red and black beauty covered in long white hairs.”

After returning from his camping trip, Tweed consulted with experts in an effort to identify the fuzzy beetle, but no one could.

Working with entomologists at the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC), Tweed compared his fuzzy beetle to ANIC’s large collection of specimens and came to conclusion that the beetle was not only a new species but also a new genus.

fuzzy beetle
Image courtesy of Lingzi Zhou, Australian National Insect Collection

The new beetle’s scientific name is Excastra albopilosa, which roughly translates to “white and hairy [beetle] from the camp.”

The species is officially described in a study published last month in the Australian Journal of Taxonomy.