Ultra-Rare Insect Found in an Arkansas Walmart Parking Lot

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    More than 50 years had passed since a giant lacewing had been collected in the East prior to a scientist’s discovery of a specimen in a Fayetteville, North Carolina, Walmart.

    This Polystoechotes punctata giant lacewing was the first of its kind to be collected in Arkansas, and the first to be found in the eastern United States in over fifty years.

    Photo courtesy of Michael Skvarla / Penn State.

    A rare species that was once prevalent but has been considered to be extinct in the eastern United States for decades has been rediscovered loitering at a Walmart. The species was once common in the eastern United States.

    When Michael Skvarla removed the giant winged bug off the building exterior for the very first time in 2012, he had no idea that it was significant. He was merely engaging in routine activities typical of a bug nerd. At the time, the entomologist, who is now a professor at Penn State, was living in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where he was working on his doctorate degree. Both he and his wife felt the need to do some shopping, so they went to the nearest Walmart together. Nevertheless, as he was entering the business, his attention was drawn to a bug that was sitting on the exterior wall.

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