There are many rare and unique insect species that live in Eastern North America. For example, the Puritan Tiger Beetle, whose habitat is limited to a few locations in the Eastern US, is a federally threatened species. The Appalachian tiger swallowtail, a type of butterfly found in the Appalachian Mountains, is also a rare and protected species. The rusty patched bumble bee, which was once common throughout much of the Eastern US, is now endangered due to habitat loss and pesticide use.
As for now, we have to add another one to the list: the Polystoechotes punctata (giant lacewing).
The rare insect was found in an Arkansas Walmart
A giant Polystoechotes punctata, also known as a giant lacewing, was discovered on the façade of an Arkansas Walmart, setting historical records as the first of its kind to be found in eastern North America in more than half a century, and the first ever recorded in the state, according to Phys.org.
The discovery suggests there may be relic populations of this Jurassic-Era insect yet to be discovered, revealing a larger story about biodiversity and a changing environment. Scientists hypothesize that the insect’s disappearance could be due to various factors, including urbanization, suppression of forest fires, non-native predators, and non-native earthworms.
Codey Mathis from the Penn State explained as Phys.org quotes:
We were watching what Dr. Skvarla saw under his microscope and he’s talking about the features and then just kinda stops,
We all realized together that the insect was not what it was labeled and was in fact a super-rare giant lacewing. I still remember the feeling. It was so gratifying to know that the excitement doesn’t dim, the wonder isn’t lost. Here we were making a true discovery in the middle of an online lab course.
Additionally, there are many other rare and unique insect species that inhabit the same region, including certain types of beetles, moths, and grasshoppers.