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Volcano May Have Killed Off New Bioluminescent Cockroach 108

terrancem writes "A newly discovered light-producing cockroach, Lucihormetica luckae, may have already been driven to extinction by a volcanic eruption in Ecuador. The species, only formally described by scientists this year, hasn't been spotted since the Tungurahua Volcano erupted in July 2010. The new species was notable because it represented the only known case of mimicry by bioluminescence in a land animal. Like a venomless king snake beating its tail to copy the unmistakable warning of a rattlesnake, Lucihormetica luckae's bioluminescent patterns are nearly identical to the poisonous click beetle, with which it shares (or shared) its habitat."
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Volcano May Have Killed Off New Bioluminescent Cockroach

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  • by srussia (884021) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:11AM (#41989639)
    could be killed off by a puny volcano!
    • by rvw (755107)

      could be killed off by a puny volcano!

      They probably have set it off themselves.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:08AM (#41989835)

      Doesn't sound like they were so luckae... *rimshot*

    • Seriously. I always assumed that at least cockroaches would survive the nuclear winter, but if they can't even handle a volcano...
    • god's eye. What happens when you don't expand your habitat range fast enough.
    • by Dishevel (1105119)

      OMG. A species driven to extinction!?
      We must remove man from this planet. Wait.
      It was not man that caused the extinction?
      Next you are going to tell me that man is only responsible for a tiny fraction of the bad shit that goes down.

      • by osu-neko (2604)
        You have slain your strawman with skill. But if you want to look like you're actually a reasonable person instead of a paranoid partisan prone to hyperbole, you should actually wait for someone to make an absurd argument before you refute it.
  • I thought there were certain species of fireflies that mimicked the patterns of other sub-species to lure unsuspecting victim fireflies to eat. Is there some special reason this doesn't count?

    • Yes, there are fireflies that mimic other fireflies in order to eat them: []
      And yes, I would consider fireflies land animals, because they spend most of their lives on the ground as larvae:
    • by cusco (717999)
      The fireflies are mimicking other related species of firefly. The roach is mimicking an entirely different animal. The summary sucks, haven't had time to RTFA yet.
    • by binarstu (720435)

      The responses to this indicate a fair bit of confusion.

      First, yes, there are fireflies that mimic other fireflies. But the mimicry is not among sub-species, as stated by the parent. Rather, females from one genus mimic males of another. Also, fireflies are considered terrestrial animals, even though they can fly. So, this is a clearly a case of bioluminescent mimicry, and the article summary was wrong to state that the cockroach was the "only known case of mimicry by bioluminescence in a land animal.

  • by Mister Transistor (259842) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:36AM (#41989711) Journal

    They were doomed to failure, anyway.

    Their own lights kept scaring them under the refrigerator 24/7!

    • Lucihormetica luckae, huh? Not very luckae after all, were they?
    • by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @07:50AM (#41990493) Journal
      I was going to say they could have used these cockroaches in NYC when Hurricane Sandy hit, and the lights went out. Of course on the west coast, an emergency roach is something else entirely.
    • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @08:28AM (#41990703)

      They were doomed to failure, anyway.

      It's just Mother Nature trying to keep the world in balance. Cockroaches already scare many people as it is. A bioluminescent cockroach would be a little bit too much, I guess. The only worse thing would be a giant carnivorous bioluminescent centipede. If that ever appears in nature, I predict an asteroid strike will wipe it out.

    • by asdf7890 (1518587)
      Interesting fact: it isn't just the light that makes them scurry away adn hide. They can smell us, and find us quite disgusting (presumably an evolved survival reaction: avoid mammals as they'll either eat you or just stomp on you).
    • They were doomed to failure, anyway.

      While linking arms with Parent: "Doooomed"

  • Fastest extinction ever
  • by asifyoucare (302582) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:27AM (#41989893)

    I blame global warming.

    Or maybe local warming in this case.

    • by bunratty (545641)

      Clearly humans cannot be responsible for any extinctions because extinctions have been happening in nature for millions of years without humans.

      IMPORTANT NOTICE: The purpose of this post is to illustrate the stupidity of this same argument applied to global warming. It's a shame I need to point this out.

  • Too bad, (Score:4, Funny)

    by pecosdave (536896) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:28AM (#41989897) Homepage Journal

    see there was an obvious use for this species we're not going to get now.

    We could have imported this roach and turned it lose in the US. I know what you're thinking, last thing we need is ANOTHER type of roach in the US. Well, should these things inter-breed with native roaches and spread their glowing genes they would more easily be detected in the dark making their light the glowing beacon that attracts their own demise.

    I foresee a day when we will have roach hunting nano bots fueled by the very roaches they kill. Bioluminescence would have been just one more factor these bots, birds, bats, and the occasional shoe could have used to help hunt these creatures once their gene pool was poisoned by a virtual laser painting.

    • I foresee a day when we will have roach hunting nano bots fueled by the very roaches they kill

      Agreed. The same concept could be applied to removing zebra mussels and other foreign species in the water. Or maybe the robot feeds off of animals but performs some other function, like removing toxic chemicals. Yet another robot could be sent into landfill sites to find useful metals, etc.. while feeding off of organic waste or combustibles.

  • by KugelKurt (908765) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:39AM (#41989933)

    Seriously: It's discovery seems like a break-through and no one thought about catching a few alive ones to study them in a laboratory?
    I mean, "Oh, shiny! Let's catch a few!" is so obvious...

    • by Zeromous (668365)

      well they are probably dead now.

    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      Seriously: It's discovery seems like a break-through and no one thought about catching a few alive ones to study them in a laboratory?
      I mean, "Oh, shiny! Let's catch a few!" is so obvious...

      Maybe someone collected the entire set.

  • In other news, Fukushima Daiichi has created a new species of bio-luminescent cockroach...

  • Some female fireflies mimic the flash patterns of other species to lure in and prey on the males. []

  • Create volcano in my home...

    • by cusco (717999)
      Lived in Florida for a time, where they have six inch long cockroaches that fly. They were horrible, until I got a ferret. Apparently ferrets think that roaches are great toys, and when the toy breaks they're great snacks. Now whether the ferret is less of a nuisance than the roaches is another question entirely . . .
  • I don't think King Snakes have rattlers....They are known for imitation but I think instead it is visual. []
  • It was just another of their bioluminescent mimcry tricks. They swarmed to create the illusion of a volcano to scare away the humans so they could pull away undetected and hide in obscurity, increasing their numbers until the time comes for them to attack.

    One more reason to move ahead with global warming and destroy this planet before it gets the better of us.

  • Perhaps they should have evolved some sort of force field instead.
  • I heard a luminary with profoundly huge self-importance just turned off the lights and left.

  • The EPA is desperately searching for someone to fine/sue or get an injunction of some kind for this.

  • Yeah, you cockroach supporters you heard me.
  • This is not the only known case of mimicry by bioluminescence of a land animal, unless fireflies don't count (being that all of the insects in question can fly, they'd better count!). Pennsylvania's state insect is a tricky one, indeed: []

    It will duplicate the mating blinks of other species of firefly, and consume the attracted "suitors"!

  • Tungurahua is beautiful but not stable, the bioluminescent cockroach must have survived more eruptions than anyone can count. I bet it will survive the blast of this size too. I also bet that there are subspecies that live in a different hight, becasue Ecuador is famous for insane diversity of species. Birds can have 40 different colors in the same spot in Ecuador. Cockroaches are far more common than birds. By math alone, the cockroach must have survived.
  • America must invade Ecuador in order to save this invaluable species.

    They will, of course, need to change Ecuador's extradition laws so that the perpetrators of this volcano-based atrocity can be brought to justice, no matter what embassy they may try to escape to.

  • ...everyone knows that the extermination of a species is only caused by human generated global warming – typically from the activities of people residing on the North American continent. So the story is obviously false.

The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.