Rediscovery of Hoplia walterrossii: new localities, first ecological notes, description of the female and conservation issues (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae)
Keywords:Scarabaeidae, Italy, Molise, wetlands, ecology, conservation, IUCN categories of risk.
Hoplia walterrossii is a species endemic to Molise, Southern Italy, with completely unknown ecology and virtually known only on the holotype, few additional specimens having been merely listed in a recent paper. Following the discovery of various new populations in the field and of old unpublished samples, we provide new information on ecology, phenology, distribution, and morphology, including the description of the female, so far unknown. H. walterrossii is associated to alluvial soils near the coast, and to lowland floodplains, with apparent tolerance for temporarily flooded areas. Adults are active for about one month, from early May to early June, and have been observed mostly on leaves of canes and on young poplars, never on flowers. An attempt of formal IUCN status assignment is provided, giving the species the “Endagered” status. Suitable habitats for H. walterrossii are small residual meadows and, in particular, wetlands which have been subjected to a recent strong reduction due to human activity. This process, that started centuries ago, is still in progress, in spite of the formal identification of these areas as sites of conservation concern.