Mini may beetles from China

Scientists, in collaboration with Chinese researchers, have described 152 new species of “mini cockchafer”. Many of these species were mainly collected by amateur scientists.

08.02.2021 · Life Sciences · Research Museum Alexander Koenig - Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity · News · Research result

Scientists from Germany (Bonn), in collaboration with Chinese researchers, have described 152 new species of “mini cockchafer” of the genus Maladera (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Sericini) from China. Many of these species were mainly collected by amateur scientists and were then found in various museums around the world.

The study, which was recently published in the journal "Zootaxa" by Silvia Fabrizi and Dirk Ahrens, scientists at the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig - Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity (ZFMK) in Bonn, and colleagues from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, highlights how little we know about our planet.

In the publication, 152 of the 224 species detected in China were discovered and described as new, i.e. almost 68% of all these species were previously scientifically unknown! “This is an unbelievably high number and science must be able to fill gaps in knowledge,” says Ahrens. The COVID-19 situation has shown how problematic an insufficient knowledge can be.

The work on this monograph took more than 10 years again. One reason is that Ahrens too often has to do the work “on the side”. Because taxonomy is above all a descriptive science, he and his students in Germany often receive little funding for this work. Ahrens therefore primarily trains students from overseas from, for example, China, Sri Lanka, India or Brazil. In these countries the taxonomy is much more respected than in Germany.

Original publication

Fabrizi, S., Liu, W.-G., Bai, M., Yang, X.-K. Ahrens, D. (2020) A monograph of the genus Maladera Mulsant & Rey, 1871 of China (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Melolonthinae: Sericini). Zootaxa 4922 (1): 001–400. DOI: https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4922.1

Further information and contact

www.zfmk.de/en