Arthropods at tHE preserve

The Preserve supports a great diversity of arthropods such as insects, spiders, centipedes, crabs, and scorpions. Arthropods are extremely important members of the ecosystem and provide vital ecological services, such as acting as food for birds, bats, lizards and frogs; pollinating flowers; assisting in the breakdown of dead organic matter; and even helping to control nuisance insects such as mosquitoes.

Arthropods at The Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve

Many butterflies – important pollinators of the Preserve’s plants – flutter among trails and display beds. Some commonly seen include the Bahama Swallowtail, Gulf Fritillary, Julia Heliconian, and Long-tailed Skipper.

The Levy Preserve’s mangrove and freshwater wetlands host a diverse assortment of dragonflies that can be seen constantly patrolling above the water. Aquatic insects such as whirligig beetles, backswimmers, and water boatmen are visible making their homes within the vegetation just beneath the water’s surface.

New Species Discovered at The Preserve

In 2013, Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of The Bahamas, the late Dr. Paul De Luca discovered a new species of katydid while conducting a survey of arthropods at the Preserve. Dr De Luca and then-Preserve Manager Mark Daniels were walking the Ethan’s Tower trail when they heard the distinctive song of a singing male. Male katydids are known to rub their front wings together to produce a mating song. The two scientists followed the sound to a singing male located on a thatch palm. Named Katydid-Erechthis levyi, in honour of Leon Levy; it’s referred to as the “blue-faced katydid” because of its striking turquoise coloured face.

Surprised but not shocked by the finding, Dr De Luca said the discovery of a new species to science is a reflection of how much is left to learn about the insects in The Bahamas. It highlights the importance of habitat preservation, which allows the protection of many species that have yet to be discovered. According to Dr. De Luca, 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.

Learn more about this insect discovery

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