Julodis candida Holyński, 1996, Holynski, 1996

Howarth, Brigitte & Gillett, Michael, 2009, Increasing knowledge of the entomological fauna of the United Arab Emirates and the role of private collections, ZooKeys 31 (3), pp. 119-132: 121-123

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http://doi.org/ 10.3897/zookeys.31.139



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Julodis candida Holyński, 1996


Julodis candida Holyński, 1996   (Subfamily: Julodinae   )

The genus Julodis   is well known and contains two groups of large generally brightly coloured beetles that are distributed respectively in sub-Saharan Africa and in the Palaearctic region, including the Mediterranean Basin and eastwards into the Middle East, Arabia and Central Asia. Several species are known from Arabia including J. euphratica   J. caillaudi   and J. fimbriata   that are found in the UAE (Table 1). The species J. candida   was described in 1996 by Holyński from a specimen previously determined as J. caillaudi   by the buprestid specialist S. Bilý (1985) and deposited in his collection (Svatopluk Bilý, Prague, Czech Republic). This specimen, the holotype, had been collected by D. A. Pitcher in the Ain Dar area of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia in 1975. Two paratypes were also mentioned in the description, including another specimen collected by Pitcher in Jebel Kenzan, Saudi Arabia in 1974 and an old specimen from 1936, labelled Arabia, Shibwa (both in the Roman B. Holyński Collection, Milanowek, Poland). Until recently, these were believed to be the only specimens known, but it is quite possible that a further seven specimens also collected by Pitcher and identified as J. caillaudi   by Bilý reside in the Manchester Museum (MM), UK ( Bilý 1985). However, in 2008, during a visit to the Natural History Museum (NHM), one of the authors (MG) found two further specimens whilst examining beetle specimens in the acquisitions part of the collection. They were found in a drawer that contained UAE material from the Ian Hamer collection. Hamer was a member of the ENHG who resided in Abu Dhabi in the 1980’s and who collected principally Hymenoptera, but also other insects throughout the UAE. Amongst the donated material were a number of specimens of Julodis   that were recognizable as J. euphratica   , but there were also two specimens that were clearly very different.

Thinking that these might represent the species J. speculifer (Castelnau)   (a possible new UAE record), digital images were sent to Maurizio Gigli in Rome for confirmation. He was very kindly able to determine that the photographs of both specimens depicted J. candida   . One of these specimens is shown in Fig.1. It is clearly in very good condition and like the holotype in the original description, it shows the dense creamy white pulverulence that seems to characterize this species. Based on this identification, MG was able to recall having seen two further specimens, albeit rather damaged ones, in the collection of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi and this was confirmed in the same year following a personal revisit to the collection.

The original UAE specimens of J. candida   were collected in 1982 and 1984 not by Hamer himself, but by J. N. B. (Bish) Brown, the almost legendary father figure of UAE natural history. The captures were made in the Sweihan area of the eastern region of Abu Dhabi Emirate. From Hamer’s private collection, these specimens found their way to the NHM a few years previously. Their subsequent discovery clearly shows the value of such collections, in this case not just by providing a new country record, in this case for the UAE, but also by providing additional new information on a very poorly known, indeed rare Arabian insect. Nevertheless, there is still much to learn about this species, including details about its host plants, seasonality and exact distributional range within the UAE. A concentrated effort by MG and Brien Holmes to find this species in the Sweihan - Al Ain area in the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi emirate during October 2008 failed to find it.

Figure |. The jewel beetle Julodis candida   . A specimen originally collected by J. N. B. Brown in the Sweihan area, UAE, and acquired by the NHM, London as part of the Ian Hamer Collection (photograph Harry Taylor (NHM Photographic Unit)).