A new paper characterises the Mesomerodon, a genus of jewel scarab beettle found in western lowland Amazonia. Although our labs were not involved in the study, we are excited to say that a newly described species is found at our field site in Payamino, Ecuador, and the new description is partly based on specimens collected by Dr. Conrad P.D.T. Gillett in 2007 during our annual Tropical Ecology field courses in Payamino.
"The beetle is common at Payamino, and perhaps you will recognise it as a bright white chafer beetle (when alive), about 2cm long, that comes to light." said Dr Gillett, who collected specimens used and after whom one of the beetles is named after "Some years ago my late colleague Marc Soula described a species in the same genus partly from specimens collected in another nearby location in Ecuador. It is therefore quite surprising that the present, apparently cryptic species, occurs so near (less than 30km) to that one, and indeed I had always assumed that the Payamino specimens belonged to the species described by Soula. A third species in the genus occurs much further south in Peru."
The paper by Seidel, Jameson, and Stone (2017) can be read or downloaded here.
Seidel, M., Jameson, M.L., Stone, R.L. (2017). A new cryptic species and review of the east-Andean leaf chafer genus Mesomerodon Ohaus, 1905 (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae, Rutelinae). ZooKeys, 671: 61-85
Mesomerodon barclayi in San José de Payamino. Photo © Conrad P.D.T. Gillett