Information on the geographic range of Zopherine beetles (Coleoptera: Zopheridae) in Mexico is extremely scant and fragmentary. This is true for the genus Verodes, with 12 species currently recognized (Foley & Ivie 2008). Some are known only from the type locality, sometimes as imprecise as “Mexico” or “Guerrero” (Champion 1884–1893; García-París et al. 2006) or from summarized state records (Foley & Ivie 2008).
Verodes aequalis (Champion 1884) is a characteristic species with distinct habitus (Fig. 1) and large size. It is distinguished by the lack of pronotal and elytral tuberculation typical of the remaining taxa included in the genus. It was originally described within the genus Nosoderma Solier 1841 (not Guérin-Méneville 1838). It was made the type species of Verodes by Casey (1907). Since Nosoderma Solier is a junior homonym, the name currently accepted for this genus is Verodes Casey (Foley & Ivie 2007). Verodes aequalis was described from a unique specimen from “Mexico, Parada (Sallé)”. Although “Parada” is a common name for Mexican localities meaning “stop-point” in Spanish, the locality mentioned by Champion likely corresponds with the one recorded as “La Parada, Oaxaca” by Selander & Vaurie (1962): “hacienda and important collecting site on the north slope of the mountains west of Cerro San Felipe, which is just north of the city of Oaxaca”.
This interpretation is supported by the distribution range of specimens we have studied, from several localities of the State of Oaxaca including some in the vicinity of Cerro San Felipe. However, the distribution of V. aequalis is not narrowly restricted, but ranges through a great portion of the mountains of northern Oaxaca, along the Sierra Aloapaneca, Sierra Mazateca and Sierra de Juárez, including a small area in the neighboring mountains of Veracruz (Fig. 2). The latter locality represents a new record for the state of Veracruz. All the specimens were collected in humid montane forests dominated by pine and pine-oak associations in the almost permanent cloud zone at altitudes between 2130 and 3000 m asl. Most of the specimens were observed under bark of old decaying stumps or crawling on the trunks in humid nights. The species was found often in microsympatry with V. carinatus (Champion). The following new localities represent a major range extension for this species and we provide the first citation for the State of Veracruz.
We thank David B. Wake and James Hanken for their companionship and support during field trips in the mountains of Oaxaca. Research support was provided by Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia of Spain (current grant CGL2007-64621) to MG-P, and UC-MEXUS 022043 to GP-O. Collecting permits were provided by SEMARNAT (México).
Examined Material: Verodes aequalis (Champion 1884)
Type material: HOLOTYPE: One female bearing the following labels: 1. “Type” (round label bordered in red) (printed); 2. “PARADA” (printed); 3. “1654” (printed); 4. “Mexico. Salle Coll.” (printed); 5. “Nosoderma aequale Champ. M.S.” (hand written); 6. “Sp. figured.” (printed); 7. “B.C.A. Col. IV. 1. Nosoderma aequale” (printed except aequale); 8. “Holotypus. Nosoderma aequale Champion. García-París des. 2000” (printed in red label). Holotype deposited at the Natural History Museum, London (BMNH).
Other material examined (number of specimens is indicated in brackets, collectors in parentheses): MEXICO: OAXACA: Analco, 2800 m, 31-VII-1977  (J. Hendrichs); Cerro Machín, 2822 m, 8-X-1997  (M. García-París, G. Parra-Olea & D. B. Wake); Cerro Pelon, 2936 m, 8-X-1997,  (M. García-París, G. Parra-Olea & D. B. Wake); Llano de las Flores, 2904 m, 8-X-1997,  (M. García-París, G. Parra-Olea & D. B. Wake); Concepción Pápalo, 2130 m, 18-IX-2000,  (M. García-París, G. Parra-Olea & D. B. Wake); La Cumbre, Corral de Piedra, 2800–3000 m, 4-VIII-1999,  (M. García-París, G. Parra-Olea & D. B. Wake; RMO Corral de Piedra, 14 km O La Cumbre, 29-VIII-2002,  (M. García-París & G. Parra-Olea); VERACRUZ: Tlaquilpa, 2405 m, 22-111-2003,  (M. García-París & G. Parra-Olea). Specimens are deposited at the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid (MNCN) and Coleccion Nacional de Insectos, Institute de Biología, Mexico (UNAM).
Verodes aequalis (Champion) was previously known only from its type locality (“Parada, Mexico”, likely close to Cerro San Felipe, Oaxaca, Mexico). We provide several new localities from the mountains of northern Oaxaca and neighboring Veracruz representing a major range extension. All specimens were captured in pine and pine-oak forests in the cloud zone above 2130 m asl.