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Jean-Bernard Huchet, Two new species of Nothochodaeus Nikolajev, 2005 from the Himalayan region (Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea: Ochodaeidae). Insecta Mundi 0778: 1–11
Nothochodaeus yeti Huchet, new species, from Nepal and Sikkim (north India) and N. martensi Huchet, new species, from Nepal, are described and illustrated (Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea: Ochodaeidae). A distribution map and an updated catalogue of the Ochodaeidae occurring on the Indian subcontinent are provided.
Over the last two decades, oriental beetles belonging to the Ochodaeidae, particularly those occupying East and Southeast Asia, have been the topic of extensive taxonomic studies including the description of many new species (Nikolajev 2005, 2009; Ochi et al. 2011, 2013; Masumoto et al. 2013, 2018; Huchet 2014a, b, 2017, 2018, 2019; Paulsen 2014; Huchet and Li 2015; Masumoto and Ochi 2015; Huchet and Keith 2017). By contrast, the fauna of India remains largely unknown and the only recent report of Ochodaeidae originates from a regional survey (Chaudhary and Srivastava 2012). According to current knowledge, the ochodaeid fauna of India includes only four representatives: Nothochodaeus pictus (Westwood, 1852), N. lutescens (Westwood, 1852) and two species of the genus Ochodaeus: O. deceptor Arrow, 1907 and O. pallidus Arrow, 1907. At the scale of the whole Indian subcontinent, two other species complete this list, namely O. barbei Petrovitz, 1972 from northern Bangladesh, and O. nurestanicus Nikolajev, 1995 from Afghanistan, but recently recorded from north-western Pakistan (Huchet unpublished data). In addition to the limited number of species, it must be highlighted that a major lack of information occurs in the knowledge of the geographic repartition of the species described by the former authors. In this regard, the mentions of “India Orientali” or “N. India” are extremely obscure to determine the exact collecting localities of the taxa described by Westwood (1852) and Arrow (1907).
In all likelihood, the Indian subcontinent, due to its geographical location, its diverse orography and microclimates, the great diversity of its biotopes, and finally the specific wealth of the neighboring countries, hosts a greater diversity than that currently known. As a proof of this assumption, the recent study of material from India and Nepal allowed me to find two new species belonging to the genus Nothochodaeus Nikolajev, 2005, herein described. Among these new species, Nothochodaeus yeti n. sp. is morphologically close to N. lutescens (Westwood). Both species appear to be quite distinct from the other members of the genus and might correspond to relict species inhabiting the highlands of the Himalayan massif. In contrast, N. pictus (Westwood) and N. martensi n. sp. are morphologically similar to the Nothochodaeus representatives inhabiting East and Southeast Asia.