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BOOK REVIEW(pdf)

List of Chinese Insects, Vol. II.

by Hua, Li-zhong , 612 pages, hardcover. Guangzhou: Zhongshan (Sun Yatsen) University Press, 2002

Volume two of the ambitious one-man catalogue "List of Chinese Insects" is dedicated to Judson Linsley Gressitt (1914 1982) in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of his sudden death. This volume covers Coleoptera, Strepsiptera, Megaloptera, Neuroptera, Raphidiodea, Mecoptera and Trichoptera.

As I know from my own experience, cataloguing the insect fauna of China is not a simple task, especially if there is just a single author trying to compile about 70,000 species, described before 1990.

Evidently, Hua received some assistance from a number of specialists world-wide, as we can see from the comprehensive "acknowledgements" section. Consequently, some of the families treated in this volume have received professional attention, others not.

Staphylinids, for instance, have been compiled more or less correctly, although there are numerous typos and some double entries (e.g. Stenus similioides Puthz). Unfortunately, the water beetle list leaves much to be desired. Besides numerous typographical errors, resulting in badly mutilated taxa and author names, there are some rather curious lapses: Haliplus bachmanni Vidal Sarmiento & Crosso, 1969 from the Argentinian province of Formosa is the first species in the list of Chinese Haliplidae. Agabus ussuriensis Nilsson, 1997 (erroneously cited as "Nilsson, 1996") should not be included as it was described definitely after 1990. Ilybius rufus Zeng, 1989 is not available according to the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. The replacement name Nipponhydrus guizhouensis Hua, 2002 nom.n., was introduced for another unavailable name, Nipponhydrus bimaculatus Zeng, 1989. Metagyrinus sinensis is listed for a second time, under the invalid combination "Paragyrinus sinensis". The lucanid genus Cladophyllus is listed under the family Dryopidae. All species of Ptilodactylidae are placed under "Helodidae" (= incorrect name for Scirtidae). Luckily, the incomplete and sometimes erroneous compilation of the various water beetle families is not really a tragedy because they are throughly covered by three volumes of the "Water Beetles of China" (Jäch & Li 1992 2003) and by the first three volumes of the "World Catalogue of Insects" (Hansen & Nielsen 1998 2001). Some of the terrestrial families (e.g. Carabidae) have recently been compiled thoroughly in the "Catalogue of Palaearctic Coleoptera, Volume 1" (Löbl & Smtana 2003).

As for the remaining families, Hua's catalogue will at least offer some interesting information for the beginner, who should, however, treat the the book with the necessary caution.

M.A. Jäch

Hansen, M. & Nielsen, E.S. (eds) (1998-2001). World Catalogue of Insects, Volumes I-III. Apollo Books, Stenstrup.

Jäch, M.A. & Ji, L. (eds.) (1992-2003). Water Beetles of China, Volumes I-III. Zoologisch-Botanische Gesellschaft, Vienna.

Löbl, I. & Smetana, A. (eds.) (2003). Catalogue of Palearctic Coleoptera 1.Apollo Books, Stenstrup.

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