Integrative taxonomy of New Caledonian beetles: species delimitation and definition of the Uloma isoceroides species group (Coleoptera, Tenebrionidae, Ulomini), with the description of four new species.
New Caledonia is an important biodiversity hotspot with much undocumented biodiversity, especially in many insect groups. Here we used an integrative approach to explore species diversity in the tenebrionid genus Uloma (Coleoptera, Tenebrionidae, Ulomini), which encompasses about 150 species, of which 22 are known from New Caledonia. To do so, we focused on a morphologically homogeneous group by comparing museum specimens with material collected during several recent field trips. We also conducted molecular phylogenetic analyses based on a concatenated matrix of four mitochondrial and three nuclear genes for 46 specimens. The morphological study allowed us to discover and describe four new species that belong to the group of interest, the Uloma isoceroides group. Molecular analyses confirmed the species boundaries of several of the previously described species and established the validity of the four new species. The phylogenetic analyses also provided additional information on the evolutionary history of the group, highlighting that a species that was thought to be unrelated to the group was in fact a member of the same evolutionary lineage. Molecular species delimitation confirmed the status of the sampled species of the group and also suggested some hidden (cryptic) biodiversity for at least two species of the group. Altogether this integrative taxonomic approach has allowed us to better define the boundaries of the Uloma isoceroides species group, which comprises at least 10 species: Uloma isoceroides (Fauvel, 1904), Uloma opacipennis (Fauvel, 1904), Uloma caledonica Kaszab, 1982, Uloma paniei Kaszab, 1982, Uloma monteithi Kaszab, 1986, Uloma robusta Kaszab, 1986, Uloma clamensae sp. n., Uloma condaminei sp. n., Uloma jourdani sp. n., and Uloma kergoati sp. n. We advocate more studies on other New Caledonian groups, as we expect that much undocumented biodiversity can be unveiled through the use of similar approaches.