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Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society




A fundamental problem in biodiversity science is determining the number of species in any taxon, and there is a growing awareness that cryptic diversity contributes to this problem – even in well-studied groups. Discovering cryptic species requires several lines of evidence to elucidate congruent patterns across data-types, and distinguish unrecognized species. Tiger beetles are among the most well-studied insect groups; yet few new North American species have been described since the mid-20th century, suggesting that that the number of morphologically distinct species is reaching an asymptote. We explore the possibility that more species exist in the fauna as cryptic species, by analysing a broad geographic sample of all species in the genus Dromochorus. We employ a ‘taxonomic congruence’ approach, where we first generate species hypotheses from patterns of reciprocal monophyly across the mitochondrial and nuclear datasets, and test these hypotheses through congruence with population structure, morphological measures and ecological divergence. We find broad congruence that supports eight species of Dromochorus, more than doubling the known diversity. We also validate a previously ambiguous taxon, and re-describe previously named species. Lastly, we identify new diagnostic morphological characters, include an updated dichotomous key and provide updated natural history/ecological characteristics for the genus and individual species.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.