Saturday 12 November 2016

Cactopinus rhettbutleri: A new species of Bark Beetle from Central Mexico.

Bark Beetles, Scolytidae, get their name from their habit of living underneath the bark of trees, Some species are generalists, living on a variety of trees, generally targeting weak or dying trees, though others target specific species and are often able to infect healthy members of their host species. Many Bark Beetles can carry Fungal infections and other Plant pathogens, making them a serious pest in areas where forests of single species are grown for commercial purposes.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 9 November 2016, Thomas Atkinson of the University of Texas Insect Collection describes a new species of Bark Beetle from central Mexico.

The new species is placed in the genus Cactopinus, species of which infest a variety of desert and dryforest species in Mexico and the Southwest United States, and given the specific name rhettbutleri, in honour of Rhett Butler for his work in conservation and environmental education. This species was found living on the arborescent (tree-like) Cacti Escontria chiotilla and Polaskia sp. in Oaxaca and Puebla states in Mexico. The Beetles are small, reaching 1.80-2.05 mm in length, and black in colour, with a dense covering of yellowish setae (hairs).

Cactopinus rhettbutleri, male specimen in lateral view. Atkinson (2016).

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