Thursday, 14 April 2016

Onthophagus clavijeroi & Onthophagus martinpierai: Two new species of Scarab Beetles from the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt.

Mexico has an essentially tropical climate, but is crossed by a series of volcanic mountain ranges, formed largely by the subduction of part of the Cocos Plate beneath the southern tip of the North American Plate. These mountains, on their upper reaches, bring temperate climatic conditions far south into the Mexican tropical zone, providing a bridge for fauna and flora between the temperate climate of North America and the tropical climate of Central America. The formation of these mountains has occurred in four main stages over the past nineteen million years, with areas of different climates forming, bcoming isolated then merging numerous times, leading to the evolution of a very large number of endemic species, and making Mexico one of the world's most important biodiversity hotspots, 

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 15 March 2016, Victor Moctezuma of the Red de Ecoetología at the Instituto de Ecología, Michele Rossini of the Dipartimento di Scienze Biomolecolari at the Università di Urbino Carlo Bo and the Departamento de Biologia e Zoologia at the Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, Mario Zunino of the Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, della Vita e dell’Ambiente at the Università di Urbino Carlo Bo, and Gonzalo Halffter, also of the Red de Ecoetología at the Instituto de Ecología, describe two new species of Scarab Beetles from the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, a range of mountians running east to west across southern Mexico. Both species are placed in the genus Onthophagus, and were collected in the westernmost part of the eastern sector of the mountains. 

The first new species described is named Onthophagus clavijeroi, in honour of the eighteenth centuary Mexican biologist Francisco Xavier Clavijero. The species is described from six male and two female specimens captured in traps bated with dung at altitudes of between 2543 and 2710 m above sea level on Mount El Pinal in Puebla State. These are dark brown Beetles covered in light yellow hairs, with the largest males reaching 9.4 mm in length. The females are slightly smaller than the large males, however the species appears to possess two male morphologies, with smaller males roughly the same size as the females. 

Onthophagus clavijeroi, major male. Moctezuma et al. (2016).

The second new species described is named Onthophagus martinpierai, in honour of the twentieth century Spanish entomologist and ecologist Fermín Martín Piera. This species is described from 15 male and 36 female specimens collected in traps bated with dung at altitudes of between 2530 and 2742 m above sea level on Mount El Pinal in Puebla State. These are dull-to-silky black Scarab Beetles with a copper cast in places, reaching about 5 mm in length.  

Onthophagus martinpierai, major male. Moctezuma et al. (2016).

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/ateuchus-cujuchi-new-species-of-scarab.htmlAteuchus cujuchi: A new species of Scarab Beetle from Rodent burrows in Bolivia. Tuco-tucos, Ctenomys spp., are small South American Rodents which live their entire lives underground within underground burrow systems, never venturing to the surface. Studies of other Rodents with similar...
There are currently eight species of Scarab Beetles in the genus Scapanoclypeus, which is known from Namibia and western South Africa. They are...
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/a-new-species-of-scarab-beetle-from.htmlA new species of Scarab Beetle from the Elandsberg Mountains of the Western Cape, South Africa.                                                         Scarab Beetles of the genus Trichostetha occur across southern Africa, reaching their greatest diversity in...
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