New Beetle Species Identified in Nebraska

Posted on May 30, 2016

Trox paulseni

A new beetle species has been discovered in Nebraska. It is described by Brett Ratcliffe, professor of entomology and curator at the University of Nebraska State Museum.

The beetle is named Trox paulseni in recognition of M.J. Paulsen, who discovered the species and is collection manager for the museum's Division of Entomology. It is characterized by a bumpy, grayish-brown appearance. Ratcliffe says this helps the beetles avoid detection by predators.

The beetle went unrecognized as being different from the already-classified species Trox hamatus until fall 2015 when Paulsen began examining specimens of the genus Trox that he had collected from dried coyote scat in Nebraska.

Ratcliffe says, "We had several specimens of the new species in our collections dating from as far back as 1973, but they went unrecognized as being different from a similar-looking species from Nebraska."

Subtle differences in the hind legs, reproductive organs and scales of T. paulseni and T. hamatus led to it being identified as a new species. A research paper on the beetle was published in the journal, Insecta Mundi.

Image: Nebraska State Museum