Explanation of Names
Nicagus occultus Paulsen & Smith, 2005
2 spp. in N. Amer. (Paulsen & Smith 2005)
Previously, the genus Nicagus contained only two species: N. obscurus (LeConte) from the eastern and central United States and southern Canada, and N. japonicus Nagel from Japan. (Paulsen & Smith 2005)
Length: 5.8–7.9 mm. - males
Length: 6.6–9.4 mm. - females
This new species was described from the Monahans Sandhills, Ward Co. of western Texas. (Paulsen & Smith 2005)
unvegetated sand dunes (Paulsen & Smith 2005)
May to June (most in June) (Paulsen & Smith 2005)(1)
- Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.
Dec. 5, 2005
New Beetle Species Discovered at State Park
AUSTIN, Texas — Sometimes even the most well-trod ground can yield surprises. That was the case in May when a graduate student identified a species of stag beetle that is new to science while visiting Monahans Sandhills State Park.
Aaron Smith ... noticed the insects at the top of a dune one evening while tagging along on a University of Texas undergraduate field trip.
“I wasn’t sure what they were until I put them under a ’scope,” said Smith, now a Ph.D. student in entomology at Texas A&M University.
Smith collected all of the beetles he saw and took them back to Nebraska, where he was then studying. His lab mate, Matt Paulsen, specializes in stag beetles and immediately recognized the insects for what they were not: anything previously known to science.
The discovery prompted an 850-mile road trip the very next day, and after Paulsen returned with still more specimens, he and Smith published a paper describing their find in the scientific journal Zootaxa.
Texas Parks & Wildlife considers this to be a "Species of Greatest Conservation Need" (SGCN) (2)
Paulsen, M.J. & A.D. Smith. 2005. A new species of stag beetle from sand dunes in west Texas, and a synopsis of the genus Nicagus
(Coleoptera: Lucanidae: Aesalinae: Nicagini). Zootaxa 1050: 45–60. (Abstract