A new species of Soldier Beetle (family Cantharidae) has been discovered by Brent Steury, Natural Resources Program Manager for the George Washington Memorial Parkway, in 2019. He described the species in a recent issue of an international journal devoted to the study of beetles called The Coleopterists Bulletin.
Steury said, “I knew the second I saw it that it was none of the species I had ever seen before in the park, and probably none of the species known from the Eastern United States. I had to be sure that this beetle was not a species recently arrived in North America from some other country and the peer-review process of The Coleterists Bulletin helped me do that. This publication makes it official. The planet has one more species with a name.”
As per Alexandria Gazette Packet, “Steury has been inventorying the flora and fauna of the parkway for over 15 years and has a special fondness for “beetles, snails, and plants” he said. The discovery was made in Turkey Run Park (a unit of the parkway) near the Potomac Gorge, an area known for its high species richness and rare plants and animals. Steury has found over 100 species previously unknown from Virginia in this area but was still a “little surprised” to find a beetle species totally unknown to science, “especially one so brilliantly colored and so large” Steury said. “At seven to eight millimeters,” slightly less than one-half inch (females are slightly larger than males), “it seemed large to me,” he said. “Many of the species previously unknown from Virginia that are discovered in the Potomac Gorge are less than half this size” Steury explained.”