The cover of the special issue of open-access journal ZooKeys, devoted to the beetle diversity and natural history in New Brunswick, Canada. Credit: ZooKeysBeetles diversity in New Brunswick, Canada, has elicited the interest of biologists for over a century and continues to do so. In 1991, 1,365 species were known from New Brunswick. That number had increased to 2,703 by 2013, as a result of a series of publications in three previous special ZooKeys issues and other publications. In spite of that work, there were still gaps in the knowledge of the Coleopteran fauna. Now, a group of insect specialists have joined forces in the name of their love for beetles, and compiled their findings from the last three years, reporting another 303 species for New Brunswick, including thirty-two species new to science. All of these records are published in a special issue, titled ”The Coleoptera of New Brunswick and Canada: Providing baseline biodiversity and natural history data” of the open access journal ZooKeys.
It might have been only three years, but the authors of the present issue have expanded the beetle fauna of New Brunswick by 13%. On a longer timeline since 1991, the increase rises to an impressive 124%.
These figures come as a result of the 303 new records for New Brunswick that included 32 species, which the team have found to be new to science, 4 new North American records, 21 new Canadian records, 270 new provincial records, and 45 adventive species that have somehow arrived in the region from elsewhere. As a result, the beetle fauna of New Brunswick currently comprises 3,062 species.
”This information constitutes a baseline of biological knowledge that is critical to support other branches of science,” point out the authors.
”It is important to remind ourselves that the understanding of biological diversity is not possible without taxonomic research, which is thought by many to be the foundation of biological science,” they explain. ”Data on the mega-diversity of life and knowledge on species identity and distribution require discovery, description, cataloguing, and organization in order to be made accessible to a wide audience.”
”This work would not have been possible to complete without the enthusiasm, determination, and professionalism of a small number of dedicated individuals who are acknowledged in the papers in this special issue,” the researchers conclude. ”We hope that this special issue will generate a positive response and further interest in the Coleoptera fauna of New Brunswick and Canada, as many new discoveries await.”
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More information: Reginald P. Webster et al. History of Coleoptera collecting in New Brunswick, Canada: advancing our knowledge of the Coleoptera fauna in the early 21st century, ZooKeys (2016). DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.573.8123
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