Thursday 9 January 2014

Two new species of Sap Beetle from North America.

Sap Beetles (Nitidulidae) are small (2-6 mm), oval or oblong Beetles, found throughout the world, but most numerous in the tropics. They tend to be dull in colour, though some species have brighter red or yellow markings. Sap Beetles feed on plant sap or rotting vegetation, some species are considered to be pests.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 3 July 2013, Andrew Cline of the Agriculture Plant Pest Diagnostics Center at the California Department of Food and Agriculture and Paul Skelly of the Division of Plant Industry at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services describe two new species of Sap Beetle from the southern United States as part of a wider discussion into Sap Beetles in America.

The first new species is placed in the genus Cyllodes, and given the specific name thomasi, in honour of Michael Thomas, a Beetle expert. Cyllodes thomasi is a 2.8 mm oval brown Beetle found at a number of locations in southern Arizona, either under tree bark or in association with gilled Fungi. All specimens were collected between July and September, the wettest time of the year in southern Arizona.

Cyllodes thomasi, dorsal view. Cline & Skelly (2013).

The second new species is placed in the genus Brachypeplus and given the specific name habecki, in in honour of the late Dale Habeck, an expert on larval Sap Beetles and Lepidoptera. Brachypeplus habecki is described from a single female specimen collected at Sabal Palm Grove in Cameron County, Texas. It is a 3.9 mm brown Beetle, elongate for a Sap Beetle. It was found living on the Texas Sabal Palm, or Texas Palmetto, a species of Palm abundant in Texas and Mexico.

Brachypeplus habecki, dorsal view. Scale bar is 1 mm. Cline & Skelly (2013).

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