Back in March of 2021, Davis Marthin Damaledo, then only 14 years old, went out hiking with his dad, Dantje, to pursue his interest in the natural world surrounding his home on Timor Island, in Indonesia.
As a bug enthusiast, Davis noticed the unusual-looking stick bug and decided to take it home, along with some eggs, to see if he could identify it.
The teen credits his dad with helping him to make the discovery, saying,
The location was quite far away. If I was by myself, I'd have just searched near home.
Once they returned home, Davis contacted the founder of the Indonesian Mantis and Phasmid Forum, Garda Bagus Damastra, regarding his find. And what a find it was! Just look at the size of this thing:
Damastra reached out to some entomologists (bug scientists) he knew, who, along with Davis, studied the insects by observing the eggs as they hatched through their development until reaching maturity.
Damastra told Mongabay Indonesia,
Every phase of the growth was monitored by Davis.
Davis, along with the more seasoned scientists, chose the name Nesiophasma sobesonbaii for the insect, in reference to Sobe Sonbaii III, the last ruler of the Sonbai Besar kingdom on the island of Timor where Davis is from and where he found the never-before-identified insect.
The teen said that in the past his classmates found his fascination with bugs to be a little strange, understandably so.
But now at 17, he has almost three years of research under his belt, in addition to the bragging rights of having named a new species.
Davis told Mongabay Indonesia,
I am proud that my hobby is useful for science. Insects are often underestimated.
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