Scientists Describe A Newly Discovered Moth As 'Living Dinosaur'

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Scientists have discovered a new species of moth in the Kangaroo Island in South Australia. The species was described as a living dinosaur. A moth rests on a window at Marjayoun village in south Lebanon May 6, 2012. Picture taken May 6, 2012. REUTERS/ Jamal Saidi

Scientists discovered a new species of "enigma" moth in the Kangaroo Island in South Australia. The species was described as a living dinosaur. It was first found by Richard Glatz, a local scientist in 2009. The finding was published in Systematic Entomology, a journal which gives information about discussions related to taxonomic validity of names. 

Glatz had found the moths on Southern Cypress pine trees close to sand dunes in a remote river valley. After the first moth was seen, many specimens were collected in 2012 and 2013, after which the moth was confirmed to be a new specie and it was given the name Aenigmatinea glatzella, in honour of Glatz.

Glatz contacted Ted Edwards, a moth specialist and a honorary fellow of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation(CSIRO), who knew straight away that the moth was something exceptional, reported CBS News. He said that the results showed the evolution of the tongue did not happen once but that it happened twice independently. He added that the primitive moth had no tongue, but the earlier ancestors did.

Edwards went on to say that the moth retained many structural features of the moth species that lived about 40 to 50 million years ago, one of the features being the wing mechanism. He said that it was remarkable as it meant that the ancestral line had continued without a lot of changes in the basic structure.

He also said that fauna was so exciting that they could still come across new primitive species. He added that Australia was so rich in moths that a large number of it still had to be discovered.

The moth had a small wingspan of about a five cent piece and the wings shone in gold and purple. The wings also had delicate fringed edges. It was found that the adult moths were short-lived and in a span of just a day, the moths would emerge from its cocoons, mate and then the female moth would lay eggs, after which it died.

According to The Age, the scientists were prompted to redraw the family tree of the insects. The results of analysis of DNA of the moth suggested that the evolution of the moth and butterfly was more complex that what was previously thought.

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