Living With Caverneleodes

Welcome Eleodes wynnei!

About 400,000 species of beetles (Coleoptera) have been described; new species are discovered and described at a rapid pace. Searching unexplored areas often leads to discoveries of new species. Not all unexplored areas are deep in tropical rain forests. The United States has numerous unexplored areas, including caves in the Desert Southwest along the Grand Canyon and other remote areas.

The beetles in the genus, Eleodes, the desert stink beetle, are large conspicuous beetles of the Southwest Deserts of the United States. Eleodes are typically defended against ants and other predators. The surface dwelling species are well known. Nearby caves provide a much different habitat than the desert surface. In the past Eleodes beetles have invaded caves and accumulated adaptations to the cave environment. Adaptation to different habitat eventually led to evolution of cave species and surface species.
Recent exploration of these caves by biologists have led to discoveries of several previously undescribed species in the genus Eleodes. A new subgenus of Eleodes, Caverneleodes, has been created to group the cave-dwelling Eleodes. One of the cave-dwelling species, Eleodes wynnei, was named after Jut Wynne who first discovered the new species. Descriptions of Eleodes wynnei, and other species of Caverneleodes can be found in a article by Rolf L. Aalbu and colleagues.

Eleodes wynnei, a recently described species of cave-dwelling beetle
Photo: Rolf Aalbu

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is a retired Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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