Four new species of jewel beetles have been identified in South-East Asia, all in the genus Philanthaxia, according to a study published in ZooKeys on July 7.
One species, P. pseudoaenea, is found in Thailand, while P. jakli, P. chalcogenioides and P. lombokana occur on the islands of Sumatra, Borneo, and Lombok.
As yet the biology of the beetles and their host plants is not known because the beetles were collected from local people.
"Before the publication of this study, 61 species had been known from this genus,” said co-author Oto Nakládal at the Czech University of Life Sciences in a press release.
“Currently, it comprises of 65 species, with a primarily Southeast-Asian distribution, except for two species extending to the Australasian region.”The scientists also obtained a male specimen of the Javan beetle, P. iris, from a local, and discovered the species exhibits sexual dimorphism with the species previously described from a female that has a different appearance.
South-East Asia is a biodiversity “hotspot” where species extinction rates are rising due to habitat loss with some being lost before even being known to science.