• A Lifetime of Beetles

    Carabid BookA lifetime of work on the ground beetles of Vermont and New Hampshire, Carabidae of Vermont and New Hampshire by Ross T. Bell, Professor Emeritus of the University of Vermont with species maps produced by the Vermont Atlas of Life at VCE, is now available as a PDF.

    Ground beetles (Carabidae) are a large, cosmopolitan family of beetles with more than 40,000 species worldwide, around 2,000 of which are found in North America.

    Ross Bell was a world-renowned expert on Carabidae. He and his wife, Joyce Bell, were the world’s leading experts on the carabid tribe Rhysodini, the Wrinkled Bark Beetles, and have described over three-quarters of the world’s 360 known species.

    This new book is indispensable to anyone interested in the New England ecology, habitats, conservation, and the natural history and distribution of ground beetles. Although not an identification manual, there is a wealth of natural history and biogeographical information as well as notes about new state records or confirmation of records that were previously in doubt.

    The introduction discusses topography, mountains, wetlands, vegetation, soils, life zones, and biophysical regions of Vermont and New Hampshire in regards to the beetle fauna.  A complete list of species indicates state records, confirmation of catalogue records previously considered tentative, literature records, and adventive species. Taxonomic nomenclature has been updated following Bousquet’s 2012 catalogue. The main text follows with brief tribal and generic summaries and individual accounts of the 495 species known from the two states. Each species account includes general range, local range, habitat, life cycle, behavior and dynamics.

    A map of the Bell’s beetle data across Vermont and New Hampshire.

    Additionally, occurrence dot maps were compiled for each species from the author’s records, as well as his students and colleagues, and digitized by Vermont Atlas of Life at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. The full dataset can be downloaded from the Vermont Atlas of Life’s Global Biodiversity Information Infrastructure server. It contains 13,443 beetle records from Vermont and New Hampshire and has already been download over 600 times.

    Publication of this book was supported by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, Vermont Monitoring Cooperative, Vermont Center for Ecostudies, Vermont Entomological Society, and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

    map 14

    Examples of maps created by the Vermont Atlas of Life and provided in the book for each species. David Maddison, a former student of Ross Bell, looked at the morphological, cytogenetic, and molecular variation within the Bembidion chalceum and B. honestum group and found that the concepts of these two consisted of a complex of at least seven species. The new Bembidion chalceum subgroup consists of B. chalceum, B. rothfelsi, B. bellorum, B. antiquum, and B. louisiella. The B. honestum subgroup consists of B. honestum, B. arenobilis, B. integrum and B. rufotinctum. B. rothfelsi type locality is along the Ottauquechee River in Bridgewater, Vermont.


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