E. levyi turqoise head

A new species of insect has been discovered at the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve in Governor’s Harbour, The Bahamas National Trust’s (BNT) first national park on Eleuthera. The insect is a katydid and belongs to the same group as grasshoppers and crickets in the order Orthoptera. Specimens of this new species were first collected in 2013 by Dr. Paul A. De Luca, an assistant professor in the Biology Department at the University of The Bahamas. He made the discovery while conducting a survey of arthropods (the animal group that includes insects, spiders, scorpions, centipedes and crabs) at the Preserve. According to Dr. De Luca, “This find - a new species to science - is a reflection of how much there is still left to learn about insects in The Bahamas, and it only highlights the incredibly important function of habitat preservation. We are definitely protecting many species that we don’t even know about yet.”To the layperson, katydids resemble grasshoppers, but are actually more closely related to crickets. Katydids are well-known for the fact that males in many species produce acoustic songs to attract females. Dr. De Luca’s collaborator on this project is Dr. Glenn Morris, an emeritus professor from the University of Toronto and an expert in katydid taxonomy. He determined that the new species belonged in the genus Erechthis as it closely resembles Erechthis gundlachi, a katydid that occurs in Cuba and Hispaniola, but not in The Bahamas. The new species was named Erechthis levyi, in honour of Leon Levy, after whom the Preserve is named. After Leon’s death in 2003, his wife Shelby White wanted to commemorate her husband’s devotion to the island and his love of the native flora. She created the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve in partnership with The Bahamas National Trust. It opened to the public in 2011. The 25-acre Preserve promotes plant conservation and features the economic, medicinal, historical and agricultural importance of native plants. It has become an important visitor attraction on Eleuthera. As a national park, a major part of it's mission is to protect Bahamian biodiversity, and therefore the discovery of this new species is a testament to the Preserve’s goal of documenting the flora and fauna of the island.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 (see picture). 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.”


Addressing officers

Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville said that it has been confirmed by Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Emrick Seymour that crime is down by 49 percent since September 2016 in Grand Bahama. “And just last week, as reported by Commissioner Greenslade, serious crime has been reduced nationwide, the largest year-to-year drop since 2004,” Minister Darville added. “While this news is most reassuring, we must not become complacent, but use this success as a motivational tool to work even harder and more diligently to ensure that our nation remains safe for all, and violent crime is eliminated from our society.” The Minister for Grand Bahama was speaking on behalf of the Minister for National Security, the Hon. Dr. Bernard Nottage, who was unable to attend the Royal Bahamas Police Force annual church service, which was held on Sunday, January 15, 2017 at Calvary Temple Assemblies of God. The service was represented by all levels of law enforcement within the Northern Region, including the Police, the Defence Force, Customs, Immigration and the Road Traffic Department. Commissioner of Police, Ellison Greenslade and Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police in Grand Bahama, Emrick Seymour were in attendance.During his address Minister Darville said that Swift Justice remains a hallmark of the Progressive Liberal Party administration’s approach to bringing criminals to justice. The government’s holistic approach to combating crime and preventing it from happening has yielded positive results, demonstrated in the 2016 crime statistics. “Through initiatives like Urban Renewal 2.0, we’ve ensured law enforcement has a consistent presence in our communities to address the needs of urban development and the empowering of our nation’s youth,” said Minister Darville. “We’ve built the trust of community leaders to work with law enforcement, which resulted in an increase in apprehending offenders and bringing them to justice.”

He noted that far too often police officers are overworked and in many instances underpaid. This, he admitted, is a serious challenge facing the public service. “The government understands the needs of our law enforcement agencies and officers and remains committed to ensuring that the people behind the badges and stripes are respected and have the tools necessary to get the job done,” added Minister Darville.
“Officers, oftentimes your work is unacknowledged, but know that it is never unappreciated and never goes unnoticed by many of us in the community you serve. “We don’t say it often enough, but today, on behalf of the Government of The Bahamas and the people of Grand Bahama, to each and every single law enforcement officer present here ‘thank you!’ Thank you for the continued service to our community. Thank you for your continued dedication to protecting the lives of our people. Thank you for your continued sacrifice of the time you spend away from your family to ensure that the families of this country can live in a peaceful and a safe environment.” Minister Darville noted that one of the most important aspects of a strong and progressive society is safe communities and the presence of competent, hardworking law enforcement officials to ensure the law is upheld and that the rights of citizens are protected. He pointed out that since coming to office in 2012, the government’s focus has been on modernizing the Royal Bahamas Police Force. In that vein, he said the government purchased a new fleet of police vehicles, recruited over 450 new police officers, made provisions for the implementation of Closed Circuit Television throughout the major hot spots on the island of New Providence, ungraded the infrastructure of police buildings, IT systems and provided essential equipment in the Forensic Labs. “Yet, there remains so much more to be done and the need to find new evidence-based solutions and technologies to reduce the stress levels of our officers and improve the negative effects they subsequently have on family living,” said Minister Darville. During the service Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police, Emrick Seymour made financial donations on behalf of the police force to the Grand Bahama Christian Council and to Calvary Temple Church. attract the type of businesses that will further strengthen the economy.



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