The new species was named Erechthis levyi, in honour of Leon Levy, after whom the Preserve is named. There are a number of characteristics that differ between E. levyi and E. gundlachi, but two of the most interesting are physical traits. The first is that E. levyi possesses a striking turquoise-coloured head that is lacking in E. gundlachi. The second is more difficult to observe with the naked eye.
At the tip of the male’s abdomen where the genitalia is found,each species bears a curious structure – the subgenital plate prong – which is a device used to remove rival sperm from a female’s genital tract prior to mating with her. The prong is markedly dissimilar in shape between the two species, which suggests each one has a different way in which males physically “hook up”with females during mating.
Future research planned by Dr. De Luca includes mapping the full distribution of E. levyi in The Bahamas, which at present is only known from specimens collected on Eleuthera.“What is interesting about this find is that E. levyi does not appear to occur anywhere else in the Greater Antilles, which suggests it may be endemic to The Bahamas, making it the first truly Bahamian katydid.”
Pictured left to right:
Dr. Paul De Luca, Assistant Professor at The University of The Bahamas; Shelby White, Founder of The Preserve;
Falon Cartwright, Preserve Manager; Eric Carey, Executive Director, The Bahamas National Trust