(KTXL) — A rare species of beetle is being named after Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife Anne following its discovery on his Colusa County ranch.
The new species is being called Bembidion brownorum, which had never been observed by scientists in over 55 years, according to the University of California, Berkeley.
UC Berkeley entomologist Kipling Will collected the rare beetle near a creek on Brown’s 2,500-acre ranch that is about an hour drive north of Sacramento.
The beetle is brown and is around 5 millimeters (0.20 inch) in length and is slightly larger than other Bembidion beetles, the university said.
“I was looking at this one beetle thinking, ‘It just doesn’t fit any of the ones that I can identify,” Will said on the university’s website. “The shape of prothroax is just not likey any of the other.”
After Will was unfamiliar with the species following his discovery, he contacted expert Davis Maddison, a professor at Oregon State University, to help identity the beetle.
During the scientists’ research, Will looked through entomology collections throughout California museums, looking to see if any species were unlabeled or misidentied. Will found that 21 other specimens of the species with the most recent being collected in 1955, according to the university.
The species being rare is likely due to its population declining after its natural habitat being destroyed by “rapid urbanization and agricultural development,” the university said.
“The sad truth is, [the species] has probably been in a huge decline. If you look at the places that it was found in the ‘20s and ‘30s and ‘40s, almost none of that natural habitat is left,” Will said. “But we don’t know for sure. So, the thing to do is to get it out there, describe it and tell people, ‘Hey, look for this thing,’ because maybe we’ll find some place where it’s doing fine.”
“Having access to Jerry’s ranch in Colusa County gives me the opportunity to really spend time sampling, to look for rare things like this,” Will continued.
According to the university, Will has frequently sampled insects on the ranch for more than two years. Will is also a professor of environmental science, policy and management and travels throughout California to study different types of beetles.
Will and Maddison published a study on Monday about the rediscovered species in the journal ZooKeys. John S. Sproul of the University of Nebraska-Omaha is a co-author in the study.
Brown served two stints as California’s governor from 1975 to 1983 and 2011 to 2019. Since leaving office, Brown has spent his days on his ranch in rural Colusa County, on land that’s been in his family for generations.
The former governor has welcomed a variety of researchers to his property from field researchers, including geologists, anthropologist and botantists. He currently serves as the chair of California-China Climate Institute at UC Berkely.
“I’m very glad that [my ranch] is advancing science in some interesting and important ways,” Brown said on the university’s website. “There are so many undiscovered species. I think it’s very important that we catalog and discover what we have and understand their impact on the environment — how it’s functioning and how it’s changing.”