Highlights of the Rio Grande Valley Entomofauna

Map of RGV in south Texas
Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV)

Beetles - Spiders - Dragonflies - Grasshoppers - True Bugs - Butterflies & Moths - Bees & Ants

Return to Texas Entomology - Compiled by Mike Quinn

The Rio Grande Valley is one of the premere biodiversity hotspots of the United States. Some of the first beetles described from the valley were collected during U.S.-Mexico boundary surveys in the 1850s (see: LeConte 1853-1859)

Later, even before the first railroad reached Brownsville in 1904, prominent entomologists such as Herbert Spencer Barber, Ottomar Dietz, Henry Guernsey Hubbard, Charles Frederick August Schaeffer, Eugene Amandus Schwarz, Francis Huntington Snow, Charles Henry Tyler Townsend, Henry Frederick Wickham were flocking to the valley. While Barber, Hubbard, Schwarz, Townsend, and Wickham were sent by the USDA to study the emerging threat of the boll weevil (which had recently entered Texas near Brownsville from Mexico), Charles Schaeffer's multiple expeditions to south Texas were funded by his employer, the Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences. Esperanza Ranch and San Tomas (now the Sabal Palm Sanctuary) were among Schaeffer's favorite Brownsville-area collecting localities. Schaeffer described over 100 new beetle species in 26 families from Cameron County. His surveys constitute a turn-of-the-20th Century baseline for the Lower Rio Grande beetle fauna which has been added to by the likes of  Hovore et al. (1987), Carlow (1997), Riley & Wolfe (2003) and King (2015).

King, with the assistance of Ed Riley, Brian Raber, Dan Heffern and Mike Quinn among others, conducted the most through beetle survey ever of the RGV. King et al. collected and indentified 977 species of beetles in 69 families from five sites in Hidalgo and Cameron Counties from 2008 to 2010. Of the species collected, 31 are thought to be new to science.

The following beetle species have not been recorded outside of Starr, Hidago and Cameron counties in the US, with the exception of a few which have also been recorded in CA, AZ, NM, or FL.

Agra rileyi Erwin - Agra rileyi Calleida fimbriata (Bates) - Calleida fimbriata Nemotarsus rhombifer Bates - Nemotarsus rhombifer Lebia calliope Bates - Lebia calliope Apenes sp. EGR 4 - Apenes Apenes sp. EGR 1 - Apenes Calleida planulata LeConte - Calleida planulata Oxycrepis intercepta (Chaudoir) - Stolonis intercepta Cylindronotum aeneum Putzeys - Cylindronotum aeneum Hyboptera auxiliadora Erwin - Hyboptera auxiliadora Onota angulicollis (Reiche) - Onota angulicollis Galerita (Galerita) aequinoctialis Chaudoir - Galerita aequinoctialis Calosoma aurocinctum Chaudoir - Calosoma aurocinctum - female Anatrichis oblonga G. Horn  - Anatrichis oblonga Loxandrus sculptilis Bates - Loxandrus sculptilis Loxandrus rectangularis LeConte - Loxandrus rectangulus Teretriosoma conigerum Lewis - Teretriosoma conigerum Teretriosoma chalybaeum Horn - Teretriosoma chalybaeum - female Platyprosopus mexicanus Sharp - Platyprosopus mexicanus Dacnochilus angularis (Erichson) - Dacnochilus angularis Phanaeus adonis Harold - Phanaeus adonis - male Onthophagus batesi Howden & Cartwright - Onthophagus batesi Deltochilum scabriusculum Bates - Deltochilum scabriusculum - male - female Phyllophaga vexata (Horn) - Phyllophaga vexata Trigonogya reticulaticollis (Schaeffer) - Trigonogya reticulaticollis Acmaeodera starrae Knull - Acmaeodera starrae Xenorhipis hidalgoensis Knull - Xenorhipis hidalgoensis - male Spectralia prosternalis (Schaeffer) - Spectralia prosternalis Lampetis cupreopunctata (Schaeffer) - Lampetis cupreopunctata Actenodes flexicaulis Schaeffer - Actenodes flexicaulis Chrysobothris acutipennis Chevrolat - Chrysobothris acutipennis Chrysobothris pubilineata Vogt - Chrysobothris pubilineata Paratyndaris (Paratyndaris) cincta (Horn) - Paratyndaris cincta Agrilus subtropicus Schaeffer - Agrilus subtropicus Agrilus langei - male Agrilus exsapindi Vogt - Agrilus exsapindi Agrilus taeniatus Chevrolat - Agrilus taeniatus Agrilus neoprosopidus Knull - Agrilus neoprosopidus Agrilus esperanzae Knull - Agrilus esperanzae Agrilus toxotes Obenberger - Agrilus toxotes - male Agrilus obscurilineatus Vogt - Agrilus obscurilineatus Pachyschelus fisheri Vogt - Pachyschelus fisheri Lachnodactyla texana Schaeffer - Lachnodactyla texana Vitellius texanus Knull - Vitellius texanus Protofarsus caribicus Muona - Protofarsus caribicus Anchastus augusti (Candèze) - Anchastus augusti Drapetes niger Bonvouloir - Drapetes niger Megapenthes nigriceps Schaeffer - Megapenthes nigriceps Aeolus subornatus (Schaeffer) - Aeolus subornatus Conoderus similis (Schaeffer) - Conoderus similis Tytthonyx ruficollis Schaeffer - Tytthonyx ruficollis Micrapate dinoderoides (Horn) - Micrapate dinoderoides Xylomeira tridens (Fabricius) - Xylomeira tridens Trichodesma pulchella Schaeffer - Trichodesma pulchella Ptinus tumidus Fall - Ptinus tumidus - male Ptinus sp. (EGR 2) - Ptinus - male Ptinus sp. (EGR 3) - Ptinus - female Ptinus sp. (EGR 4) - Ptinus Xyletinus fasciatus White - Xyletinus fasciatus - male Niptinus unilineatus (Pic) - Niptinus unilineatus Trichodesma sordida Horn - Trichodesma sordida Trichodesma texana Schaeffer - Trichodesma texana Striatheca Stichtoptychus agonus Fall - Stichtoptychus agonus Cryptorama vorticale Fall (or near) - Cryptorama vorticale Tricorynus congruus (Fall)  - Tricorynus congruus Tricorynus fastigiatus (Fall) - Tricorynus fastigiatus Tricorynus lucidus White - Tricorynus lucidus Tricorynus texanus  - Tricorynus texanus Cis sp. 1 - Cis Cis sp. 2 - Cis - female Phyllobaenus corticinus (Gorham)  - Phyllobaenus corticinus Madoniella rectangularis Opitz - Madoniella rectangularis Brachypeplus habecki Cline and Skelley - Brachypeplus habecki Camptodes texanus Schaeffer     - Camptodes texanus Amphicrossus Europs fervida Blatchley - Europs fervida Truquiella - female Loberus ornatus Schaeffer - Loberus ornatus Toramus chamaeropis (Schaeffer) - Toramus chamaeropis Toramus sp. EGR 1 - Toramus Philothermus Cephaloscymnus occidentalis Horn - Cephaloscymnus occidentalis Diomus pseudotaedatus Gordon - Diomus pseudotaedatus Hyperaspis rotunda Casey - Hyperaspis rotunda Hyperaspis - female Talanus mecoscelis Triplehorn - Talanus mecoscelis Strongylium championi Gebien - Strongylium championi Pechalius pilosus Statira hirsuta Champion - Statira hirsuta Platydema sexnotatum Chevrolat - Platydema sexnotatum Rhypasma - female Anaedus texanus Linell - Anaedus texanus Anaedus pallidus Schaeffer - Anaedus pallidus Zophobas Apsida belti Bates - Apsida belti Oxacis caerulea Champion - Oxacis caerulea Sapintus lutescens (Champion) - Sapintus lutescens Sapintus sp. 1 - Sapintus - male Aderus tantillus (Champion) - Aderus tantillus Axylophilus Cyphonotida rostrata texana Giesbert & Hovore - Cyphonotida rostrata Agallissus lepturoides (Chevrolat) - Agallissus lepturoides Ornithia mexicana mexicana (Sturm) - Ornithia mexicana - male Eburia stigmatica  Chevrolat - Susuacanga stigmatica Stenosphenus lugens LeConte - Stenosphenus lugens  Lissonotus flavocinctus Dupont  - Lissonotus flavocinctus Obrium mozinnae Linell - Obrium mozinnae Piezocera serraticollis Linell - Piezocera serraticollis Ameriphoderes suavis (Bates) - Ameriphoderes suavis Dihammaphora dispar Chevrolat - Dihammaphora dispar Pentanodes dietzii Schaeffer - Pentanodes dietzii - male Neocompsa mexicana (Thomson) - Neocompsa mexicana Neocompsa puncticollis orientalis Martins & Chemsak - Neocompsa puncticollis Lophalia cyanicollis (Dupont) - Lophalia cyanicollis Sphaenothecus trilineatus Dupont - Sphaenothecus trilineatus Lepturges infilatus Bates - Lepturges infilatus Thryallis undatus (Chevrolat) - Thryallis undatus Eupogonius fulvovestitus Schaeffer - Eupogonius fulvovestitus Desmiphora aegrota Bates - Desmiphora aegrota Cathetopteron amoena (Hamilton) - Cathetopteron amoena Hemierana marginata suturalis (Linell) - Hemierana marginata Essostrutha laeta (Newman) - Essostrutha laeta Cacostola lineata (Hamilton) - Cacostola lineata Pygmaeopsis viticola Schaeffer - Pygmaeopsis viticola Callipogonius cornutus (Linsley) - Callipogonius cornutus Ecyrus penicillatus Bates - Ecyrus penicillatus Ataxia tibialis Schaeffer - Ataxia tibialis - female Acanthoscelides flavescens (Fahraeus) - Acanthoscelides flavescens Stator beali Johnson - Stator beali Stator sordidus (Horn) - Stator sordidus Sennius guttifer (Sharp) - Sennius guttifer Zabrotes victoriensis Kingsolver - Zabrotes victoriensis Sennius lebasi (Fahraeus) - Sennius lebasi Merobruchus terani Kingsolver - Merobruchus terani Acanthoscelides macrophthalmus (Schaeffer) - Acanthoscelides macrophthalmus Sennius leucostauros Johnson and Kingsolver - Sennius leucostauros Pentispa distincta (Baly) - Pentispa distincta Baliosus randia Riley - Baliosus randia Baliosus sp. EGR 1 - Baliosus Octotoma championi Baly - Octotoma championi Heptispa brevicornis Riley - Heptispa brevicornis Plagiodera thymaloides Stål - Plagiodera thymaloides Brucita marmorata (Jacoby) - Brucita marmorata Acalymma peregrinum (Jacoby) - Acalymma peregrinum Disonycha barberi Blake - Disonycha barberi Diabrotica litterata (Sahlberg) - Diabrotica litterata Parchicola - male Glyptina sp. EGR 20 - Glyptina Malacorhinus acaciae (Schaeffer) - Malacorhinus acaciae - male Boca Chica Flea Beetle - Chaetocnema rileyi Epitrix sp. (EGR 1) - Epitrix Epitrix sp. (EGR 3) - Epitrix Strabala acuminata Blake - Strabala acuminata Monomacra bumeliae (Schaeffer) - Monomacra bumeliae - male Longitarsus sp. (EGR 20) - Longitarsus - male Cornulactica varicornis (Jacoby) - Cornulactica varicornis Metaparia sp. 2 - Metaparia - male  Rhabdopterus sp. EGR 1 - Rhabdopterus Megascelis texana Linell - Megascelis texana Fidia clematis Schaeffer - Fidia clematis Pachybrachis duryi Fall - Pachybrachis duryi Pachybrachis sp. (EGR 2) - Pachybrachis Cryptocephalus guttulatellus Schaeffer - Cryptocephalus guttulatellus Diachus Chlamisus maculipes (Chevrolat) - Chlamisus maculipes Chlamisus texanus (Schaeffer) - Chlamisus texanus Trichodesma sordida Horn - Trichodesma sordida Toxonotus penicellatus (Schaeffer) - Toxonotus penicellatus Toxonotus bipunctatus (Schaeffer) - Toxonotus bipunctatus Stenocerus longulus Jekel - Stenocerus longulus Discotenes nigrotuberculata (Schaeffer) - Discotenes nigrotuberculata - male Phoenicobiella schwarzii (Schaeffer) - Phoenicobiella schwarzii - male Ormiscus irroratus (Schaeffer) - Ormiscus irroratus Ormiscus EGR sp. 8 - Ormiscus Ormiscus sp. 10. - Ormiscus Ormiscus sp. 12 - Ormiscus Temnocerus macrophthalmus (Schaeffer).  - Temnocerus macrophthalmus - female Heterobrenthus texanus Schaeffer - Heterobrenthus texanus Coelocephalapion buchanani (Kissinger) - Coelocephalapion buchanani Sphenophorus cazieri “Chalcodermus” semicostatus Schaeffer - Chalcodermus semicostatus Cophes texanus Sleeper - Cophes texanus Cophes longiusculus (Boheman) - Cophes longiusculus Conotrachelus Conotrachelus texanus Schaeffer - Conotrachelus texanus Acalles Conotrachelus rubescens Schaeffer - Conotrachelus rubescens Anthonomus schwarzi Clark & Burke - Anthonomus schwarzi Plocetes versicolor (Champion) - Plocetes versicolor Baridinae - female Hypocoeloides wickhami (Dietz) - Orchestomerus wickhami undet. onycholipine genus Pseudopentarthrum Pseudopentarthrum sp. 1 (EGR 1) - Pseudopentarthrum Apteromechus Chalcodermus serripes Fahraeus - Chalcodermus serripes Copturomorpha rileyi Hespenheide, allotype - Copturomorpha rileyi - female Platyomus flexicaulis (Schaeffer) - Platyomus flexicaulis Epicaerus mexicanus Boheman - Epicaerus mexicanus Notolomus sp. 1 - Notolomus Notolomus sp. 2 - Notolomus Chramesus mimosae Blackman - Chramesus mimosae - male Xyleborus spinulosus Blandford - Xyleborus spinulosus Euplatypus parallelus (Fabricius) - Euplatypus parallelus - male Illustrated Beetle Inventory of the Sabal Palm Sanctuary, Cameron Co., TX - Edward G. Riley & Michael A. Quinn  

Global Biodiversity Information Facility | GBIF
- Seminal site for species distribution data

LeConte J.L. 1853. Descriptions of some new Coleoptera from Texas, chiefly collected by the Mexican Boundary Commission. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 6: 439-448.

LeConte J.L. 1854. Notice of some coleopterous insects, from the collections of the Mexican Boundary Commission. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 7: 79-85.

LeConte J.L. 1854. Descriptions of new Coleoptera collected by Thos. H. Webb, M.D., in the years 1850-51 and 52, while secretary to the U.S. and Mexico Boundary Commission. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 7: 220-225.

LeConte J.L. 1858. Catalogue of Coleoptera of the regions adjacent to the boundary line between the United States and Mexico. Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (Series 2) 4: 9-42.

LeConte J.L. 1858. Descriptions of new species of Coleoptera, chiefly collected by the United States and Mexican Boundary Commission, under Major W.H.Emory, U.S.A. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 10: 59-89.

LeConte, J.L. 1859. Descriptions of some genera and species of Coleoptera from the vicinity of the southern boundary of the United States of America. Arcana Nat., 1: 121-128, pls. 12, 13.

Schwarz, E.A. 1896. Semi-tropical Texas. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 4: 1-3.

Wickham, H.F. 1897. The Coleoptera of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. I. Bulletin from the Laboratories of Natural History of the State University of Iowa 4 [1896-98]: 96-115.

Wickham, H.F. 1898. Recollections of old collecting grounds, II, the lower Rio Grande valley. Entomological News 9: 22-24.

Linell, M.L. 1896. Descriptions of new species of North American Coleoptera in the families Cerambycidae and Scarabaeidae. Proceedings of the United States National Museum, 19(1113): 393-401.

Linell, M.L. 1897. New genera and species of North American Curculionidae. Journal New York Entomological Society 5(2): 49-56.

Wickham, H.F. 1898. Recollections of old collecting grounds, III, the lower Rio Grande valley (cont.). Entomological News 9: 39-41.

Linell, M.L. 1898. New species of Coleoptera of the family Chrysomelidae, with a short review of the tribe Chlamydini. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 20(1133): 473-485 [1897].

Linell, M. 1901. Descriptions of some new species of North American heteromerous Coleoptera. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 4: 180–186.

Townsend, C.H.T. 1902. Contribution to a knowledge of the coleopterous fauna of the lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas and Tamaulipas, the biological notes and special reference to geological distribution. Transactions of the Texas Academy of Science 5: 49-101.

Schaeffer, C. 1905. Some additional new genera and species of Coleoptera found within the limit of the United States. Science Bulletin of the Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, 1(7): 141-179.

Snow, F.H. 1906. Some results of the University of Kansas entomological expeditions to Galveston and Brownsville, Tex., in 1904 and 1905. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 20(1) [1905]: 136-154.

Schaeffer, C. 1906. On new and known genera and species of the family Chrysomelidae. Brooklyn Institute Museum Science Bulletin 1(9): 221-253. 

Schaeffer, C. 1907. New Bruchidae with notes on known species and list of species known to occur at Brownsville, Texas, and in the Huachuca Mountains, Arizona. Museum of Brooklyn's Institute for Arts and Sciences, Science Bulletin 1(10): 291-306. 

Schaeffer, C. 1908. List of the longicorn Coleoptera collected on the museum expeditions to Brownsville, Texas, and the Huachuca Mts., Arizona, with descriptions of new genera and species and notes on known species. The Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences Science Bulletin 1(12): 325-352. 

Fisher, W.S. 1928. A revision of the North American species of buprestid beetles belonging to the genus Agrilus. United States National Museum Bulletin, 145: 1-347.

Linsley, E.G. & J.O. Martin. 1933. Notes on some longicorns from subtropical Texas. Entomological News, 44: 178-183.

Knull, J.N. 1935. Four new Texas Coleoptera (Buprestidae and Cerambycidae). Entomological News, 46(4): 96-99.

Knull, J.N. 1938. Four new Coleoptera (Elateridae and Buprestidae). Entomological News 49: 19-22.

Vogt, G.B. 1949a. Five new species of Buprestidae from southern Texas (Coleoptera). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 42(1): 48-54.

Vogt, G.B. 1949b. A biologically annotated list of the Buprestidae of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 42(2): 191-202.

Vogt, G.B. 1949c. Notes on Cerambycidae from the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Pan-Pacific Entomologist 25(3): 137-144.

Vogt, G.B. 1949c. Notes on Cerambycidae from the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Pan-Pacific Entomologist 25(4): 175-184.

Knull, J.N. 1952. A new species of Xenorhipis from Texas (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). Entomological News 63: 177-178.

Knull, J. N. 1954. Five new North American species of Buprestidae (Coleoptera). Ohio Journal of Science 54:27–30.

Knull, J.N. 1966. Two new species of Acmaeodera from southeastern Texas (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). The Ohio Journal of Science 66: 332-334. 

Hovore, F.T., R.L. Penrose & R.W. Neck. 1987. The Cerambycidae, or longhorned beetles, of southern Texas: a faunal survey (Coleoptera). Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 44(13): 283-334, 20 figs.

Bellamy, C.L. 1991. Notes on the G. B. Vogt collection, part I: south Texas (Coleoptera and Hemiptera). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 93(3): 733-736.

Carlow, T.A. 1997. A faunal survey and zoogeographic analysis of the Curculionidae (Coleoptera) (excluding Anthribidae, Platypodinae, and Scolytinae) of the lower Rio Grande valley of Texas. Unpublished thesis, Texas A&M University, College Station. xi + 274.

Riley, E.G. and C.S. Wolfe. 2003. An annotated checklist of the Scarabaeoidea of Texas. Southwestern Entomologist, Supplement, no. 26. 37 pp.

MacRae, T.C., and G.H. Nelson. 2003. Distributional and biological notes on Buprestidae (Coleoptera) in North and Central America and the West Indies, with validation of one species. The Coleopterists Bulletin, 57(1): 57–70.

Burke, H.R. 2004. Notable weevil specialists of the past. Curculio, 49: 5-7.

MacRae, T.C. 2006. Distributional and biological notes on North American Buprestidae (Coleoptera), with comments on variation in Anthaxia (Haplanthaxia) viridicornis (Say) and A. (H.) viridfrons Gory. The Pan-Pacific Entomologist, 82(2): 166–199.

MacRae, T.C. and M.E. Rice. 2007. Biological and distributional observations on North American Cerambycidae (Coleoptera). The Coleopterists Bulletin 61(2): 227-263.

Nelson, G.H., G.C. Walters, Jr., R.D. Haines and C.L. Bellamy. 2008. A catalog and bibliography of the Buprestoidea of America north of Mexico. The Coleopterists Society, Special Publication No. 4, pp. iv + 1-274.

Riley E.G., and J.E. King. 2008-2009. Element record datasheets submitted to Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Wildlife Division, Austin.

Bousquet, Y. 2012. Catalogue of Geadephaga (Coleoptera, Adephaga) of America, north of Mexico. ZooKeys 245: 1–1722.

Atkinson, T.H., and E.G. Riley. 2013Atlas and Checklist of the bark and ambrosia beetles of Texas and Oklahoma (Curculionidae: Scolytinae and Platypodinae). Insecta Mundi 292: 1-46.

King, J.E. 2015. Beetle biodiversity response to vegetation restoration of mid-valley riparian woodland in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of southern Texas. Unpublished Thesis, Texas A&M University, College Station. viii + 218 pp.

There are over 70 spider species recorded in the U.S. only in Starr, Hidalgo, and or Cameron Counties. (Allen Dean, pers. comm., 2019)

The first image, Neotama mexicana (O. Pickard-Cambridge) is perhaps the best known RGV specialty spiders:

Spider - Neotama mexicana Possible blanda (ID not verified) - Argiope blanda frilled orbweaver - Kaira altiventer - female Jumping Spider - Hyetussa complicata - female Jumping spider on wall - Leptofreya ambigua Phidippus bidentatus Theridiidae - Neopisinus cognatus Miagrammopes mexicanus O. P.-Cambridge - Miagrammopes mexicanus - male

Dean, D.A. 2016. Catalogue of Texas spiders. ZooKeys 570: 1–703.


Fourteen species of odonates have only been recorded in the LRGV (many others are only expected from the LRGV but there are one or two vagrant records from elsewhere). (Martin Reid, pers. comm. 2019)

Most of these species are such new U.S. records that they only have species maps, but no species profiles on the seminal Odonata Central website.

Tamaulipan Clubtail, Gomphus gonzalezi - Gomphurus gonzalezi - male Ringed Forceptail - Phyllocycla breviphylla Bentsen Blue-spot #1 - Anax concolor - male Harlingen Bar-sided Darner - Gynacantha mexicana Caribbean Darner Triacanthagyna caribbea - Triacanthagyna caribbea - male Planiplax sanguiniventris, Mexican Scarlet-tail - Planiplax sanguiniventris - male Erythrodiplax fervida Tauraphila argo - Arch-tipped Glider - Tauriphila argo Claret PondHawk Erythemis mithroides - Erythemis mithroides - male Red-mantled Skimmer Libellula gaigei - Libellula gaigei - male Caribbean Dasher Micrathyria dissocians - Micrathyria dissocians - male Marsh Firetail (Telebasis digiticollis) - Telebasis digiticollis - male=Marsh Firetail (Telebasis digiticollis) - Telebasis digiticollis - male Leptobasis melinogaster (Cream-tipped Swamp Damsel) - Leptobasis melinogaster - male Red-tipped Swampdamsel Leptobasis vacillans - Leptobasis vacillans - male Caribbean Yellowface - Neoerythromma cultellatum - male

Checklist of the Dragonflies and Damselflies of the LRGV

Dragonfly Days, Field Trip Photos from the Valley Nature Center sponsered event:
       2004: Anzalduas County Park
       2005: Estero Llano Grande State Park - Along the Rio Grande - Olmito Fish Hatchery

Abbott, J.C. 2005. Dragonflies and damselflies of Texas and the south-central United States: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 360 pp.

Abbott, J.C. 2015. Damselflies of Texas A Field Guide. University of Texas Press, Austin. 292 pgs.

Abbott, J.C. 2015. Dragonflies of Texas A Field Guide. University of Texas Press, Austin. 466 pgs.

Behrstock, R.A., T.L. Eubanks and P. Miliotis. 1999. Bar-sided Darner (Gynacantha mexicana) Selys, 1868 (Odonata: Aeshnidae), A New Dragonfly for the U.S. Argia 11(2): 12-14. (At Santa Ana NWR)

Behrstock, R.A., J.S. Rose, and J.C. Abbott. 2007. First Texas record and second U.S. occurrence of the Pale-green Darner, Triacanthagyna septima (Selys in Sagra, 1857) (Odonata: Aeshnidae). Argia (4): 28-29. (At Anzalduas County Park)

Behrstock, R.A., J.S. Rose and J.C. Abbott. First Texas record and second U.S. occurrence of the Pale-green Darner, Triacanthagyna septima (Selys in Sagra, 1857) (Odonata: Aeshnidae). in Abbott, J.C. (ed). 2007. Odonata Survey of Texas, vol. 2. Odonata Survey of Texas. (Ditto)


Grasshoppers and katydids not found north of the Rio Grande Valley:

Grasshopper - Schistocerca camerata - female Tamaulipan Toothpick Grasshopper - Achurum minimipenne - male Melanoplus cameronis Roberts - Melanoplus cameronis - male Brownsville Meadow Katydid - Conocephalus resacensis - male katydid - Turpilia - female 

Capinera, J.L., R.D. Scott, and T.J. Walker. 2005. Field guide to grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets of the United States. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 280 pp. 

Caudell, A.N. 1904. Orthoptera from southwestern Texas: collected by the Museum Expedition of 1903, 1904. Brooklyn Inst. Arts and Sci., Science Bull., 1(4): 105-116.

Helfer, J.R. 1953, 1987. How to know the grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches, and their allies. Dover Publications, New York. 353 pp.


The following species are not found north of the Rio Grande Valley.

The first image, of a Flag-footed bug, is one of the more spectacular North American insects. A colony of this coreid can be found at Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen, TX

Flag-footed Bug - Anisoscelis affinis Apidaurus conspersus Stål - Apidaurus conspersus Stenocoris tipuloides (De Geer) - Stenocoris tipuloides Madura perfida Stal - Madura perfida - male Stenolemus spiniventris Signoret - Stenolemus spiniventris adult - Pellaea stictica=last instar nymph - Pellaea stictica Odmalea - male Lineostethus clypeatus (Stal) - Lineostethus clypealis Umbonia crassicornis (Amyot and Serville) - Umbonia crassicornis - male
Alaruasa lepida (Spinola) - Alaruasa lepida Itzalana submaculata Schmidt - Itzalana submaculata=Itzalana submaculata Schmidt - Itzalana submaculata Cyarda n. sp. - Cyarda Phylloscelis pennata Ball - Phylloscelis pennata

Barber, H.G. 1906. Hemiptera from southwestern Texas. Science Bulletin of the Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, 1(9): 255-289.

Bartlett, C.R., L.B. O’Brien, and S.W. Wilson. 2014. A review of the planthoppers (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea) of the United States. Memoirs of the American Entomological Society 50: 1-287.

Snow, F.H. 1906. Some results of the University of Kansas entomological expeditions to Galveston and Brownsville, Tex., in 1904 and 1905. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 20 (1) [1905]: 136-154.

Torre-Bueno, J.R. de la. 1912. Records of Heteroptera from Brownsville, Texas (Hemip.). Entomological News 23: 120-122.


The phenominal diversity of south Texas butterflies is better known, and better documented, than that of other insect groups.

"In the section around Pharr it is doubtful whether a person would ever get all of the species that occur around that locality, as each year new things make their appearance and ones that were there the year before fail to appear." (Freeman, 1959)

Primarily due to the large number of stray butterflies from Tamaulipas, the most diverse of Mexico's northern states, more species of butterflies have been recorded in the three southmost counties of Texas than in the entire eastern United States!

Aerial photograph of southern Hidalgo County where most recent new U.S. butterfly records have been recorded.

Top 10 Butterfly Hotspot States or Regions in the U.S. 

Map of Rio Grande Valley Butterfly Trail

Checklist of 163 Specialty Butterflies Occurring in Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas - Gil Quintanilla, 2009

Checklist of 91 Unique Butterflies Occurring in Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas - Gil Quintanilla, 2009

Annotated Checklist of the Butterflies of Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park and Vicinity - Mike Rickard & Bill McGuire, 1974

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge Butterfly Checklist - Ed Knudson and Mike Quinn, 2011

14 New U.S. Records for Cameron and Hidalgo Counties in 1993

Six New U.S. Butterflies Records Fall 2004 - Why so many fall 2004 new U.S. butterfly records in south Texas?

New U.S. Butterfly Records from the Rio Grande Valley (1872-2013) - Mike Quinn

Freeman, H.A. 1945. A new species of Lerodea from Texas (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae). Entomological News 56(8): 203-205, figure 1.

Freeman, H.A. 1946. Two new species of skippers from North and Central America. Entomological News 57(8): 185-187.

Freeman, H.A. 1959. Butterfly collecting in Texas and New Mexico. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 13(2): 89-93.

Freeman. H.A. (coordinator). 1974. Zone 4: Great Plains. Pp. 6-8 In: Leuschner, R. (editor). The 1973 field season summary. News of the Lepidopterists' Society No. 2.

Kendall, R.O. & W.W. McGuire. 1984. Some new and rare records of Lepidoptera found in Texas. Bulletin of the Allyn Museum 86: 1-50. 

Knudson, E. & C. Bordelon. 2002. Illustrated Checklist of the Lepidoptera of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Part 1: Butterflies. TLS Pub. 9a. Texas Lepidoptera Survey, Houston. viii + 84 pp., 20 plates.

Knudson, E. & C. Bordelon. 2004. Illustrated Checklist of the Lepidoptera of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, TX. Vol. 2B: Macro-Moths. Texas Lepidoptera Survey, Houston. xiv + 59 pp. 20 plates.\

Knudson, E. & C. Bordelon. 2008. Illustrated Checklist of the Lepidoptera of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas, Vol. 3C: Micro-Moths and Geometroids. Texas Lepidoptera Survey, Houston. 30 pp., 18 plates.

Linter, J.A. 1884. On some Rio Grande Lepidoptera. Papilio 4(7-8): 135-147.

McGuire, W.W. & M.A. Richard. 1974. An annotated checklist of the butterflies of Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State park and vicinity. Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. mimeograph pp 1-22.

McGuire, W.W. & M.A. Rickard. 1976. New Hesperiidae records for Texas and the United States. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 30(1):5-11.

Rickard, M.A.1993. Destination: Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX. American Butterflies 1( 2):4-9.

Snow, F.H. 1906. Some results of the University of Kansas entomological expeditions to Galveston and Brownsville, Tex., in 1904 and 1905. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 20 (1) [1905]: 136-154.

Warren, A. D. 2005. Hugh Avery Freeman (1912 - 2002): Reflections on his life and contributions to lepidopterology. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 59(1): 45-58.

Wauer, R.H. 2004. Butterflies of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Johnson Books, Boulder. 331 pp.

Mostly Silk and Tiger Moths plus one geometrid not found north of the Valley:

Rothschildia Lebeau Forbesi (Forbes' Silkmoth) - female - Rothschildia forbesi - female Royal Moth - Syssphinx albolineata Sphingicampa blanchardi - Syssphinx blanchardi - male Pseudosphex leovazquezae (Perez & Sanchez) - Pseudosphex leovazquezae Psilopleura polia - Hodges #8276.1 - Psilopleura polia - male Lydia Tiger Moth - Phoenicoprocta lydia Phaloesia saucia Walker - Phaloesia saucia Heterusia atalantata  

The first two native bee species below were recently recorded as new U.S. records at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, TX.

Some eight other bee species are only known from the RGV in the U.S. (Jack Neff, pers. comm. 2019)

Coelioxys (Leuraspidia) azteca Cuckoo leafcutter bee - Coelioxys azteca - female  Red-legged Megachile Bee - Megachile - male Mexican Feather-tongued Bee - Ptiloglossa mexicana - female

Wild Bees of the National Butterfly Center - Paula Sharp and Ross Eatman

So far the above website showcases about 40 native bee species, but Sharp and Eatman hope to expand it to about 100 by the end of 2019. Based on previous surveys, they estimate, their photo gallery could eventually contain as many as 250 species.

That’s assuming they have enough time to complete their work, of course, as virtually all of these species would be affected once construction on the border wall begins.

Border Wall Threatens Rare Native Bees

Discover Life - Great portal for Bee information

Cockerell, W.P. 1917. Collecting bees in southern Texas. Journal of the New York Entomological Society 25(3): 187–193.

Michener, C.D. 2007. Bees of the World, Second Edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 992 pp.

Porter, C.C. 1981. Scoliidae (Hymenoptera) of the lower Río Grande valley. The Florida Entomologist 64(3): 441-453.

Schwarz, H.F. 1929. Honey wasps. Natural History, 29(4): 421-426.

Wilson, J.S. and O.J.M. Carril. 2015. The bees in your backyard: A guide to North America’s bees. Princeton University Press. 288 pp

army ants - Nomamyrmex esenbeckii - female Pseudomyrmex caeciliae Nesomyrmex wilda strange ant - Platythyrea punctata

O’Keefe, S.T., J.L. Cook, T. Dudek, D.F. Wunneburger, M.D. Guzman, R.N. Coulson, and S.B. Vinson. 2000. The distribution of ants in Texas. Southwestern Entomologist, Supplemental Issue No. 22. 92 pp.

Wheeler, W.M. 1908. The ants of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. (Part I.), Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 24(21): 399-485.


Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge - William MacWhorter, Handbook of Texas Online

Clover, E.U. 1937. Vegetational survey of the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Madrono 4: 41–66, 77–100.

Collins, K. 1984. Status and management of native South Texas brushlands. Page 18. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services Office, Corpus Christi, Texas, United States.

Diamond, D.D, D.H. Riskind, and S.L. Orzell. 1987. A framework for plant community classification and conservation in Texas. Texas Journal of Science 39: 203–221.

Jahrsdoerfer, S.E., and Leslie, D.M., Jr., 1988. Tamaulipan brushland of the Lower Rio Grande Valley of south Texas— Description, human impacts, and management options: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Report, v. 88, no. 36, p. 1–63.

Leslie, D.M., Jr., 2016. An international borderland of concern—Conservation of biodiversity in the Lower Rio Grande Valley: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5078, 120 pp..

Lonard, R.I. 1985. Natural communities of the South Texas Plains. Page 12 Proceedings of the Texas Academy of Science, Conservation Committee on Natural Communities of Texas. University of Texas, Dallas.

Lonard, R.I., and F.W. Judd. 1985. Effects of a severe freeze on native woody plants in the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas. The Southwestern Naturalist 30: 397– 403.

Lonard, R.I., and F.W. Judd. 1991. Comparison of the effects of the severe freezes of 1983 and 1989 on native woody plants in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas. The Southwestern Naturalist:36(2): 213–217.

Lonard, R.I., and F.W. Judd. 2002. Riparian vegetation of the lower Rio Grande. The Southwestern Naturalist 47: 420–432.

McLendon, T. 1991. Preliminary description of the vegetation of south Texas exclusive of coastal saline zones. The Texas Journal of Science 43: 13–32.

Neck, R.W. 1980. Invertebrates of the lower Rio Grande valley of Texas, with special references to the southmost, Cameron county area. Report to Natural Area Survey (unpublished). Texas Conservation Foundation, Austin. 54 pp.

Rappole, J.H., C.E. Russell, J.R. Norwine, and T.E. Fulbright. 1986. Anthropogenic pressures and impacts on marginal, neotropical, semiarid ecosystems: the case of south Texas. Science of the Total Environment 55: 91–99.

Riskind, D.H., R. George, G. Waggerman, and T. Hayes. 1987. Restoration in the subtropical United States. Ecological Restoration 5: 80–82.

United States Department of the Interior. 1980. Department of the interior habitat preservation plan – preservation of areas of important fish and wildlife habitat: Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy counties, Texas. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 2, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1984. Land protection plan for lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy Counties, Texas. The Region, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1997. Final lower Rio Grande Valley and Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuges Comprehensive Conservation Plan. U.S. Department of the Interior.


Acknowedgements

Thanks to the following individuals for their welcome suggestions of additional species.

Martin Reid, Bob Behrstock (Odonata), Tyler Hedlund (Orthoptera, Spiders), Dan Heffern (Cerambycidae, Buprestidae), Ed Riley (Scolytinae), Jack Neff (Apoidea), Paul Johnson (Elateridae), Ryan St Laurent, Paul John, Jeff Keverline (Moths), Charley Eiseman (Weevils), Alfred Newton (Staphylinidae), Rick Westcott, Henry Hespenheide (Buprestidae).


23 March 2019 © Mike Quinn / entomike@gmail.com / Texas Entomology