Think cockroaches are creepy and disgusting creatures?
Well check out this extremely rare bioluminescent race of cockroaches that look like they come from one of the reactors of Chernobyl. Dubbed the Lucihormetica luckae, the only known specimen of the species was collected in 1939 in the Andean Forest surrounding the Tungarahua Volcano, which was unfortunately damaged during a volcanic eruption in December 2010. Another is unlikely to be found.
What other rare and amazing plants and animals are yet to be discovered in Ecuadors lush and prehistoric ecosystems?
These cockroaches found only in Ecuador produce their own light in what is thought to be an attempt to mimic highly toxic beetles and deter predators. On the left in the cockroach under visible light, and on the right under a fluorescent lightbulb. Bioluminescence is very rare in land-based animals and the genus of these cockroaches is one of only three groups of insects that produce their own light in this way (fireflies are one of the other groups).
The only known specimen of these insects was collected in 1939, and it has only recently been described. A volcano eruption at the site in 2010 means further specimens are sadly unlikely to be discovered.