Agaeocera macraei Westcott and Nelson, 1871

Westcott, Richard L. & Nelson, Gayle H., 1871, A New Species ofAgaeoceraSaunders, 1871 (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) from Southern Mexico, The Coleopterists Bulletin 1871 (1), pp. 73-78 : 73-78

publication ID 10.1649/072.070.0108

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scientific name

Agaeocera macraei Westcott and Nelson

new species

Agaeocera macraei Westcott and Nelson , new species

( Figs. 1–9 View Figs View Figs View Figs )

Description. Holotype. Male ( Fig. 1 View Figs ). 15.5 mm long, 5.1 mm wide, bright cupreous on frontovertex

of head and along lateral margins of pronotum and elytra, darker in certain lights on pronotal disk and scutellum, less pronounced on sutural area of elytra, elytral costae black tinted with purple or dark green; ventrally iridescent cupreous; antennae black; legs aeneo-green with weak cupreous tints. Head: Frontovertex convex, median longitudinal depression extending upward as a median sulcus; below with oblique depression above carinated antennal sockets; surface densely punctate, more coarsely and rugosely so below, with few scattered, semierect, white, hair-like setae; broadly triangular impunctate area just above shallowly, arcuately emarginate epistomal margin; antennae extending to anterior 1/4 of pronotum when laid alongside, antennomere 1 elongate, as long as 2 + 3, 2 shorter than 3, antennae serrate and with antennomeres decreasing in length from 3–10, 11 elongate-oval. Pronotum: Width/length ratio 1.6/1.0, widest at acute posterolateral angles; lateral margins carinate throughout and briefly converging strongly from posterolateral angles, then moderately so in a rather straight line to anterior 1/5 and finally more strongly to narrowest at anterolateral angles; anterior margin with feeble median lobe; posterior margin nearly straight but very weakly arcuately emarginate; disk convex, with weak median depression and longitudinal depression on each side near lateral margins, both depressions becoming deeper posteriorly; surface coarsely punctate, punctures larger and more dense laterally, clothed with few inconspicuous, semierect white setae along lateral margin. Scutellum: Transversely oval, surface slightly concave, impunctate, glabrous. Elytra: Subequal in width to pronotum at base, widest at base; lateral margins


carinate, subparallel to past middle, then converging to apex at spinous sutural margin, lateral margin finely serrate on convergent part; disk of each elytron with 5 strong, impunctate costae, medial 3 joined along base, sutural costa ending just past midpoint, next 2 joined near apex, 4 th costa incomplete posteriorly, 5 th complete to near apex; intercostal areas finely densely punctate with few inconspicuous, semierect white setae, mainly apicolaterally. Ventral surface: Prosternum transversely impressed behind anterior margin, which is feebly lobed on each side; prosternal process with sides subparallel, slightly expanded near trilobed apex, obtuse median lobe between mesosternal processes; process with a lateral marginal sulcus; surface with scattered punctures bearing moderately long. erect. white setae; submarginal area of proepisternum impunctate; metasternum and metacoxae sparsely punctate medially, punctures and setae more dense laterally; metacoxae feebly dilated medially, posterior margins weakly, sinuately oblique; abdomen with punctures smaller and denser than on thoracic ventrites and with semierect white setae more numerous; suture between abdominal ventrites 1 and 2 somewhat sinuate, those between other ventrites transverse; last visible ventrite ending in a thinned, smooth, glabrous, black, crescentiform plate, the base narrowly margined with green and coppery reflections, and with apex broadly, deeply emarginate ( Fig. 5 View Figs ). Legs: Femora relatively slender, not sulcate along inferior margin; tibiae straight, with 2 apical spines; protibiae with dense setal brush on inner margin apically; tarsomere 1 shorter than 2 + 3 or 5, tarsomeres 1–4 with ventral pulvilli, 5 with simple claws. Aedeagus: Long, narrow, tubular ( Fig. 8 View Figs ).

Allotype. Female. 17.0 mm long, 5.7 mm wide; similar to male; dorsal coppery reflections slightly less pronounced; abdomen slightly more robust, last ventrite with apical crescentiform plate more broadly and distinctly margined with coppery and green reflections, apical emargination with a distinct small lobe at middle ( Fig. 7 View Figs ).

Material Examined. Described from the following localities in Mexico: Holotype male and allotype female ( UNAM), Oaxaca, Hwy. 190, 16 km NE Tehuantepec, 13-VII-92, G. H. Nelson, on Melochia tomentosa . Paratypes as follows: OAXACA: 35 males, 24 females, same locality as holotype, variably collected 11-14-VII-92, C. L. Bellamy , T. C. MacRae, G. H. Nelson, D. S. Verity, 42 of those collected by MacRae and Nelson on Melochia tomentosa ; 2, sex undet., same locality, 15-VIII-98, M. Hornburg ; 1 male, 2 sex undet., same locality, 16°23′N, 95°05′W, 15-VIII-98, S. Gottwald GoogleMaps ; 4 males, 2 females, 15.4 km NE Sto. Domingo Tehuantepec on Hwy 185/190 at km 268, Jct. Rancho Nochixtlán , N16°23′53″, W95°06′36″, elev. 20′, 26/ 27-VII-2005, T. C. MacRae, on M. tomentosa ; 1 female, Hwy. 190, 10 km W Tehuantepec , 11-VII-92, G. H. Nelson ; 1 male, 1 female, Puente Madera , 7 km NE Tehuantepec, 16°21.744′, 95°10.804′, 38 m, 15-VII- 2003, R. L. Westcott ; 10 males, 12 females, 7.5 km N El Porvenir , 16°41.841′, 94°47.715′, 220 m, 16-VII- 2003, on large cordate leaves of large malvaceous shrub, C. L. Bellamy, R. L. Westcott ; 1 female, 2.1 mi NW Totolapan , 11-17-VII-81, Boger, Schaffner, Friedlander ; 1 male, 4 mi N Totolapan , 3500′, 20-VI-67, S. L. Wood [checking via Google Earth, this locality is ±16.713°, − 96.331° and 1,158 m] ; 1 male, 7 mi NE Juchitán , 18-VII-52, E. E. Gilbert & C. D. MacNeil (recorded as A. gigas by Nelson and Westcott 1976). CHIAPAS : 1 female, Aguacero, 7 mi N [the direction should be W] Ocozocoautla , 9-11-IX-85, B. Ratcliffe & C. Messenger ; 2 male, 3 female, N outskirts Tuxtla Gutierrez, Parque Nat’ l. Cañon de Sumidero , 1100 m, tropical deciduous Forest, 21/23-VI-91, J. & E. Beierl ; 3 males, El Aguacero, 20-VI-89, P. K. & E. B. Lago ; 1 male, same data except 24-VI-89, S. Testa, E. B. Lago ; 3 males, 2 females, same data except 9-VI-89, B. C. Ratcliffe ; 1 male, 1 female, same data except 530 MSNM, 14-VII-93, C. Mayorga ; 1 male, 1 female, same data except 16 km W Ocozocoautla , 28-VI-8-VII-86, E. Giesbert ; 1 male, same data except 22-VI-95, V. H. Toledo ; 1 male, same data except 16°45′32.0″N, 93°31′28.6″W, 614 m, 22-VII-2003 GoogleMaps ; 1 male, Aguacera [sic], 16 km W Ocoz., 2500′, 28-30-VI-86, J. E. Wappes ; 1 male, 1 female, same data except 1-7- VII-86 ; 1 male, N. Txla. Gutierrez, 6–7 km N Parque Nat. Cañon del Sumidero, vicinity Mirador El Coyota, 21-VI-91, tropical deciduous forest, R. A. Cunningham ; 1 male, Sumidero Cnyn. Nat. Pk. , 10-12-VI-91, B. Ratcliffe, J. Ashe, M. Jameson. VERACRUZ: The original labels (“p” = printed; “h” = handwritten) on 6 males and 6 female paratypes ( ZMHB) all are given verbatim due to their historical significance but not repeated for each specimen; none bear dates of collection. A green printed label ( GL), all with “Hist.-Coll. ( Coleoptera )” on the first line, “Zool. Mus. Berlin” on the last, was added to some specimens later. Other data on these “GL” labels essentially repeat the original labels, thus we provide only significant differences. A “/” separates individual labels, and a semicolon separates each specimen. The following 8 paratypes all bear a first label “ Plan de Rio, Mexico. Hoege.” (p) and are numbered herein for clarity: #1, 96946 (p)/ Agaeocera gigas Lap. (h)/ Agaeocera scintillans Wat. (h), Det. Hoscheck 1930 (p)/ GL: Nr. 96946, Agaeocera gigas Lap. , Mexico, Plan del Rio, Höge, Godman u. Salvin; #2, same data except without A. gigas det. label; #3, Hoscheck det. label only added; #4, 86661 (p)/ Agaeocera gigas Lap. (h)/GL without “Godman u. Salvin”; #5, only “ gigas Lap. & Gory ” (h); #6, Ag. gigas Lp. , ft.[?], Mexico (h)/ex coll., G. Hauser. Eriangen (p); #7, Ag. gigas Mex. , ft[?] (h)/462. (p); #8, no additional label. The four other paratypes are labeled as follows: 1 specimen, Plan Del Rio 6 /78681/ Mexico, J. Flohr G. (p)/ gigas L & G (h)/ Agaeocera scintillans Wat. (h), Det. Hoscheck 1930 (p)/GL; 2 specimens, same data except first label “ Mexico, J. Flohr G.” (p), and without “ gigas ” label; 1 specimen, Bobo 6/78682/ Mexico, J. Flohr G. (p)/ Agaeocera scintillans Wat. (h), Det. Hoscheck 1930 (p). A paratype, sex undetermined, labeled “ Plan de Rio , Mexico, Hoege” is in MNHN ; 2 females, 2 mi S [undoubtedly the direction is SE] Rinconada, 6-VII-67, 800′, S. L. Wood in BYUC. According to Selander and Vaurie (1962), Plan del Río and Bobo are in the state of Veracruz, the former about 8 km NW of Rinconada at an elevation of 317 m . The coordinates they gave are 19°24′, − 96°36′, which are fairly close to those from Google Earth, which are 19.402763°, − 96.652922°. Finding Bobo (a more famous example comes to mind!) seems problematical (see Selander and Vaurie 1962), yet Google Earth shows a “Bobos” at 20.069810, − 97.014206, near the city of Martínez de la Torre. If the beetle was collected in that area, it is about 85 km NW of Plan del Río. Paratypes are deposited in the following collections: ACLC, BYUC, CLBC, CSCA, DSVC, EMEC, FSCA, GHNC, RLWE, SEMC, TAMU, TCMC, UNAM, USNM, WFBM, ZMHB; S. Gottwald and M. Hornburg, Berlin GoogleMaps .

Variation. In size, males vary 12.2–17.1 mm long (average 14.5 mm) and 4.1–5.6 mm wide (average 5.1 mm); females 13.5–18.4 mm long (average 15.7 mm) and 4.2–6.2 mm wide (average 5.3 mm). The dorsal coloration varies from vivid green to a more dull green ( Fig. 2 View Figs ), occasionally to a rather blackish green seen on a few specimens from the population at El Porvenir , Oaxaca. The coppery reflections are highly variable, being more pronounced in the population on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The sutural area of the elytra on some specimens lacks the usual cupreous coloration. The bright coppery color of the ventral surface usually is strongly pronounced but is weak on a few specimens, notably on two from Veracruz in which region it appears to be less pronounced overall. The metallic green and coppery reflections at the base of the crescentiform plate on the last ventrite are variable, which is usually narrower in males–sometimes almost absent–and significantly wider in most females. The lateral pronotal margins are more arcuate on some specimens; the posterolateral angles, which project slightly wider than the base of the elytra, vary to being subequal to the elytra on many specimens; the median impression of the pronotal disk varies slightly in its development. Some variation occurs in the development of the apical emargination of the last abdominal ventrite, notably in females where it ranges from subtruncate to weakly lobed at the bottom. In males, the broad semicircular apical emargination of the last ventrite may be subtruncate at the bottom, and it is without a median lobe, except two of the specimens examined exhibit a weak lobe. In females from the type locality, 18 of 23 specimens examined have a distinct, albeit small median lobe, while only about 50% of those from elsewhere exhibit this character. Some specimens of both sexes examined have the apical margin of plate worn to the point of it not being a useful character. Thus, although distinguishing the sexes may not be foolproof without internal examination apically, the females appear to exhibit a more swollen abdomen. The most interesting and unusual variation, at least in our experience with Buprestidae , occurs in the aedeagus, which is a long, slender tube that ranges from being smoothly, only slightly converging apically ( Fig. 8 View Figs ) to abruptly expanded and strongly converging to apex ( Fig. 9 View Figs ). The latter condition is more prevalent in specimens from the Chiapas and Veracruz populations, and yet an extreme example ( Fig. 9 View Figs ) is seen on the specimen from 4 mi. N Totolapan, Oaxaca. This variability was the primary factor that led us to think we were dealing with two species .

Distribution. Known only from Mexico, in the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Veracruz ( Fig. 10 View Fig ).

Biology. Nothing is known of the early stages. According to C. L. Bellamy (in litt.), the great majority of specimens collected by him and others at the type locality were taken from leaves of Melochia tomentosa L. ( Malvaceae ), even though that is not reflected on all the specimen labels. Others from further east, near El Porvenir, Oaxaca, were taken on leaves of a large malvaceous shrub. Shown in Fig. 3 View Figs is a mating pair from at or near the type locality on a plant that is not M. tomentosa , though it does appear to be malvaceous and may be another species in that genus.

Discussion and Comparison. Agaeocera macraei is closely related to A. gigas and A. scintillans ( Fig. 4 View Figs ), seemingly more allied with the former and almost always readily distinguished from both of them by the coppery venter. The copper reflection usually is very strong, often reddish, in A. macraei . However, four specimens from Veracruz approach the bright green color of the underside of the other two species, exhibiting only slight coppery reflections on an otherwise green or golden green surface. Specimens of A. macraei with a predominantly green venter are easily separated from A. scintillans by the much more deeply and semicircularly emarginate apex of the last ventrite and also by their disparate ranges. With the exception of a specimen of the latter recorded from Chiapas ( Westcott et al. 1990), which quite possibly is mislabeled, the nearest record for A. scintillans is far to the northwest, in Nayarit.

From A. gigas , the occasional specimen of A. macraei with a green venter is most readily separated by the structure of the pronotum, which in the former species usually bears a distinct, densely punctate median channel that contrasts in color–usually coppery or red–and extends from near base to apex. The pronotum of A. macraei bears a broad, shallow median depression that is not densely punctate, is deeper basally, and does not contrast in color or nearly reach the apex. In this regard, the species is more like A. scintillans . Also, the elytra in A. gigas exhibit a bold red sutural stripe that strongly contrasts with the (usually) predominant green, while in A. macraei it is usually not so red, and never as bold and contrasting. Additionally, in A. gigas the apex of the last ventrite is not semicircularly emarginate, or if it might be so considered is distinctly more shallow. In males, the emargination is shallowly sinuate or subtruncate; in females, it is usually less shallow, and there is a median lobe that is broader and more pronounced that in A. macraei . It must be emphasized that in no case did we observe the aedeagus in either A. gigas or A. scintillans to be even slightly expanded near the apex. For the most part, A. gigas has been recorded only outside of the range of A. macraei . The only published exceptions we could find include the specimen of A. macraei from near Juchitán, Oaxaca (see Material Examined) and, as we report here, a male and female A. gigas from that state, collected at the type locality of A. macraei: Hwy. 190, 16 km E Tehuantepec, 12/ 14-VII-1992, flying in shaded opening of forest, D. S. Verity (DSVC) (confirmed state record). Although Waterhouse (1882) recorded A. gigas from Orizaba and Plan del Río (Veracruz), surely both represent A. macraei . All the specimens examined for this study from Plan del Río are A. macraei and were collected by Hoege, except one by J. Flohr. Apparently, all of these were part of the original Biologia Centrali-Americana collection given to the BMNH, part of which was subsequently distributed to other museums (Selander and Vaurie 1962).

Etymology. Echoing the exact words of the second author: “The specific name is in honor of Ted MacRae, colleague and friend, who collected part of the type series.”


Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico


Tavera, Department of Geology and Geophysics


Departamento de Geologia, Universidad de Chile


Royal British Columbia Museum - Herbarium


University of Glasgow


Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle


California State Collection of Arthropods


Essig Museum of Entomology


Florida State Collection of Arthropods, The Museum of Entomology


University of Kansas - Biodiversity Institute


Texas A&M University


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History


W.F. Barr Entomological Collection