In the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, a wooded land somewhere between New York City and Philadelphia, scientists confirmed the existence of a previously undiscovered species of leafhopper, a type of colorful sap-eating bug that lives in a threatened grass called pinebarren smokegrass, EurekAlert reports.
The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal ZooKeys, was led by Dr. Andrew Hicks from the Museum of Natural History at the University of Colorado and assisted by Dr. Gerry Moore of the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Greensboro, NC, and Uli Lorimer of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This leafhopper, called Flexamia whitcombi, is the the first new species found in the pinebarren smokegrass, which is threatened by climate change and encroaching sprawl. “The description of any new species may serve as a catalyst for additional research, and this will be best accomplished while the species still can be found in nature–something that can no longer be taken for granted,” Hicks writes.
The Pine Barrens are believed to be the home of the Jersey Devil, a demonic creature with the head of a goat, wings of a bat, cloven hoofs, and forked tail. The discovery of one previously unidentified species in the Pine Barrens could indicate that there are more things hidden in the mysterious forest.
(Photo: Dr. Andrew Hicks)