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17 Feb 2024

NextImg:Kid Discovers New Species of Stick Insect During Walk in the Woods

A young man has etched his name into the history books.

Davis Marthin Damaledo was credited with discovering a new species of stick insect on Timor Island, south of Indonesia, in March 2021, according to the conservation site Mongabay.

Davis, then 14, was exploring the island with his father, Dantje Damaledo, when the pair came across a creature that looked unusual. The teenager decided to collect the large insect to study it further.

Upon returning home to Indonesia, he contacted Garda Bagus Damastra, the founder of the Indonesian Mantis and Phasmid Forum — a science collective that boasts 3,600 members — to alert him of the discovery.

Damastra compiled a team of researchers, including Frank H. Hennemann, an associate researcher at Canada’s Montreal Insectarium; Royce T. Cumming of the City University of New York; and Stephane Le Tirant, also of the Montreal Insectarium, to assist in studying the mysterious creature.

The group waited for the insect to lay and hatch eggs and then studied the growth of the offspring as they matured.

Damastra told Mongabay that Davis monitored every phase of the growth.

A self-described insect lover, the teen frequently posts pictures of a variety of bugs on his Instagram page.

Davis, Damastra and their fellow researchers chose to name the species Nesiophasma sobesonbaii as a tribute to Sobe Sonbaii III, the last ruler of the Sonbai Besar kingdom, which fought the Dutch colonial forces in Timor for much of the 19th century.

The group published their findings in March 2023 in the French journal Faunitaxys. Davis was credited as a co-author of the study.

The researchers believe the insects live across Timor Island, which is divided between Indonesia, which controls the western portion of the island, and Timor-Leste, which controls the east.

Davis’ discovery shows that even today, there is still much to learn about the planet we call home.

About 1.6 million species have been discovered to date. However, about 18,000 previously unknown animals are discovered every year.

This demonstrates the vastness of God’s creation. Even though we know so much about our planet and the species that inhabit it, discoveries like these show that our knowledge only scratches the surface.

And while it’s likely that many of the species yet to be discovered are small and difficult to spot, the potential benefits of their discoveries are limitless.

Scientists might discover a creature that could lead to a breakthrough in the medical field.

Or they might come across a new type of poisonous bug that could be harmful to humans.

Either way, there is still much to be discovered about our planet.

And who knows, maybe you’ll be the next person to discover an entirely new species.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.