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Jewel scarabs, beetles in the genus Chrysina Kirby (Coleoptera: Rutelinae: Scarabaeidae), receive their name from the bright, often gold, green elytra that reflect light like a precious stone. Jewel scarabs are commonly observed at light traps in Mesoamerican cloud forests, and their association with mountain forests makes them potentially interesting candidates for cloud forest conservation monitoring. The absence of survey protocols and identification tools, and the little ecological information available are barriers. In the present study, collection of Chrysina species assembled during biodiversity surveys by Operation Wallacea in Cusuco National Park (CNP), Honduras, were studied. The aim of this overview is to provide an easy to use identification tool for in the field, hopefully stimulating data collection on these beetles. Based on the data associated with the collection localities, elevation distribution of the species in the park was analyzed. The limited data points available were complemented with potential distribution areas generated with distribution models based on climate and elevation data. This study is aimed at initializing the development of a survey protocol for Chrysina species that can be used in cloud forest conservation monitoring throughout Central America. A list of Chrysina species recorded from Honduras so far is provided.
The six identified and one unidentified species recorded from CNP are easy to identify in the field based on color and straightforward morphological characteristics. Literature research revealed ten species currently recorded from Honduras. This low species richness in comparison with surrounding Central American countries indicates the poor knowledge of this genus in Honduras. Chrysina species richness in CNP increases with elevation, thereby making the genus one of a few groups of organisms where this correlation is observed, and rendering it a suitable invertebrate representative for cloud forest habitats in Central America.