Chalcophora mexicana Waterhouse 1882: 1, Waterhouse, 1882

Westcott, Richard L. & Bellamy, Charles L., 2013, Mexican Buprestidae: two new species of Acmaeodera Eschscholtz and a review of the genus Chalcophora Dejean, Zootaxa 3640 (4), pp. 572-580: 577-578

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Chalcophora mexicana Waterhouse 1882: 1


Chalcophora mexicana Waterhouse 1882: 1   .

(Figures 5 –8, 14)

This species too was described from a single female specimen (BMNH), and is labeled “ Type /S. Mexico Oaxaca/ Chalcophora mexicana   , Type C. Waterh.” It measures 26.5 mm long. One of us (RLW) examined nine other specimens from BMNH labeled ”Zapotlan, Colima, Höge/B.C.A., III. Chalcophora virginiensis   .” They are instead from Jalisco, Ciudad Guzmán (Selander and Vaurie 1962). This fact must have been recognized by Waterhouse (1889: 167), who discussed those specimens and recorded the locality to be in that state. Ciudad Guzmán is in the municipality of Zapotlán el Grande, which name, though it is old, currently sometimes is used for the city. It is within about 25 kms of the Colima border, so it is possible that the actual collection was made in that state. Regardless, C. mexicana   must occur there. Another specimen sent from BMNH is from Juquila [Oaxaca, 16 ° 14 ’, 97 ° 18 ’, 4900 ’, fide Selander and Vaurie 1962]. All 10 specimens bear Waterhouse’s determination label as C. virginiensis   and all are male. They are part of the Biologia Centrali-Americana Collection, and RLW placed a determination label on each. In a series of 48 specimens (RLWE) of this species examined, 15 are female. Additional records from Jalisco, based on 43 specimens we examined, are: [near] Mazamitla, 6800 ’, 16 -X- 50; Tecalitlán [the town is at 1140 m, but likely the specimens were collected at about 1300 m around the nearby microwave station where there are pines], 31 -VII- 63; 5 km N, 3–17 km E El Tuito, 855–1130 m, on pine logs, 23 & 27 -VII-90, 2-X-91, 4-X- 99 (FSCA, RLWE, WFBM); Tapalpa, km 2 La Frontera-Tapalpa, BPE, ex Pinus devoniana   , 13 -XI- 94 (CZUG); Sierra Tapalpa, 9 km SE Chiquilistlán, 20 °02’N, 103 ° 50 W, 1800 m, 21 -X- 96, pineoak forest, on standing dead trunk or log of Pinus lumholtzii   (RLWE). Apparently, other than as mentioned above and listed in catalogs and checklists, there has been nothing published about this species since Dugès (1891), who recorded a specimen from Moroleon, Guanajuato. Forty-six specimens from the following localities represent new state records: DURANGO, 30 km W Durango, 13 -X- 82, Pinus cembroides   (UANL). MICHOACAN, 16 km ENE Uruapan, 1900 m, 12 -XI- 76, on pine log (RLWE); and Km 98 Carr. Ario de Rosales – La Huacana, 19 °04.401’, - 101 ° 46.689 ’, 1285 m, 25 -VIII- 2002, on fallen trunk of Pinus   sp. (CEAM, CLBC, RLWE). MORELOS, Cuernavaca, 2 -VII- 81 (RLWE) & 30 -IV- 81 (UAEM); Cuernavaca, Chamilpa, 1900 m, on Pinus montezumae   , 23 - IX- 81 (UAEM). NAYARIT, 20 mi E Tepic, 5 -IX- 65 (WFBM). SINALOA, El Palmetto, 2000 m, 6 -IX- 92, and 20 mi W El Palmetto, 20 -VII- 84 (CLBC); 30 mi [N]E Villa Union, 30 -VIII- 65, pine logs (FSCA); Hwy 40 @ Aserradero El Batel cutoff, 1900 M, 4 -IX- 92; La Capilla del Taxte, 3800 ’, 22 -VI- 91 (RLWE); Hwy. 40, El Batel, 1700 m, on pine slash, 6 -VIII- 90 (WFBM), and Hwy. 40 @ El Batel cutoff, 1900 m, 4-7 -IX- 92, and 2 km NE El Batel, 1970 m, 4 -IX- 92 (CLBC); Hwy 40, Loberas, 4 -IX- 92 (WFBM). SONORA, 20 mi SE Alamos, 4700 ’, 28 - XI- 70 (FSCA) [Assuming the elevation is correct, this location would have to be in a more easterly direction and the miles by air]; Yécora (airport), 28 ° 29.9 'N, 108 ° 55.6 'W, 1,550 m, 18 -VII- 2005 (TCMC). Johnson et al. (2012) mentioned “ Chalcophora   sp.” on “standing dead pine” found near Yécora, but did not say if any were collected. According to Carl Olson (pers. comm.) three specimens, identified as C. mexicana   by one of us (RLW) from images, were collected: Municipio de Yécora, 28.3825 °N 108.885556 °W, 1655 m elev., pine-oak forest, 3 -VII- 93, on dead standing pine in association with Chalcolepidius approximatus Erichson   (UAIC). The known range of C. mexicana   , then, is from the Sierra Madre Occidental in southern Sonora, through the western portion of the Transverse Neovolcanic Belt, south into the Sierra Madre del Sur.

As mentioned above, Waterhouse (1882, 1889) considered all the specimens he studied to be C. virginiensis   except for one, which is the type of C. mexicana   . However, he did mention a form represented by the specimens from Zapotlán that at first he suggested could be a distinct species, then considered it best to call it a variety of the former. Later, after seeing more specimens and discussing more variation, he ended on the same note, i.e. lumping everything but his type of C. mexicana   under C. virginiensis   . The type (Figs. 5, 6; showing how the same specimen can differ in appearance depending upon lighting) does exhibit very distinct coppery reflections in punctured depressed areas of the surface, and that is not a common variant. However, many specimens do appear somewhat coppery in those areas, but on closer inspection one can see the color comes more from a type of flocculence. Sometimes that flocculence is more grayish or whitish (Fig. 14), as can also be seen on some specimens of C. hondurasica   . In summary, C. mexicana   is a variable species, not only in its general appearance, but also in the shape of the sides of the pronotum—that too was noted by Waterhouse (1882, 1889)—and in females the apex of the last abdominal ventrite ranges from narrowly, truncately rounded to variably emarginate or notched. Based on the aforementioned 48 specimens, the size ranges from 23–32 mm. Although it is usually distinguished from C. hondurasica   by general appearance, C. mexicana   can be readily separated by the distinctly wider smooth elevated median line of the pronotum. The male genitalia (Fig. 8), which are uniform across the known populations, also are distinct, much longer than in either that species or C. virginiensis   . The latter species is unknown in Mexico or Central America. It might be expected to occur in the Sierra Madre Oriental, but we are unaware of any specimen of this genus having been collected there or, excluding the two aforementioned specimens of C. hondurasica   , anywhere along the eastern side of the country. The nearest occurrence of C. virginiensis   to Mexico known to us is Bastrop, Texas (S. G. Wellso, pers. comm.), which is about 300 miles across arid lands to any apparently suitable habitat (pines) in Mexico for the genus. Thus, any earlier reference to C. virginiensis   in Mexico or Central America must be regarded as either C. hondurasica   or C. mexicana   .