Date of this Version
Paulsen MJ. 2021. Ardella magnaemirabilis (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Melolonthinae: Ardellini), a new scarabaeoid species, genus and tribe from the southwestern United States. Insecta Mundi 0903: 1–5.
An interesting new taxon of scarabaeoid beetle is described from western Texas, USA. The remarkably small chafer, Ardella magnaemirabilis new genus, new species (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Melolonthinae: Ardellini) is described and compared to other diminutive scarabaeoid genera from drier habitats of the southwestern USA. The tribe Ardellini, new tribe, is erected to accommodate the unusual genus.
After a few centuries with entomologists scouring the continent, the discovery of unknown Nearctic scarab genera is no longer commonplace. The western United States, in particular, is biogeographically diverse with pockets of endemism that makes such discoveries still possible, driving collectors to continue sampling in unique places and isolated habitats. Harsh, xeric habitats are often home to species with very brief periods of activity. These species are not commonly collected unless one happens to be in the right place at the exact right time. In particular, many genera of chafers in the subfamily Melolonthinae (Scarabaeidae: Coleoptera) and related groups are known from rather inhospitable desert habitats. This paper describes a new taxon from such a habitat in western Texas that has thus far remained unknown.