ZooKeys 22: 267-283, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.22.93
Thomas L. Casey and Rhode Island
Christopher Majka, Derek Sikes

The sixty-two species of precinctive (reported from the state and from nowhere else) beetles known from Rhode Island, and originally described by Thomas L. Casey, are reviewed. These 62 are reduced to 12 potential candidates, with a further 12 unrevised species awaiting investigation. In terms of the Rhode Island Coleoptera fauna, the present re-evaluation decreases the number of beetles known from the state by 12 to 2,243 species. This information is briefly presented in the context of T.L. Casey’s contribution to our knowledge of the North American (and specifically Rhode Island) beetle fauna and the strengths and weaknesses of his taxonomic approach. The utility of distributional checklists, such as the one of the Rhode Island beetle fauna, are discussed. The resolution of taxonomic problems is of central importance to many spheres of biological investigation and accurate distributional checklists are vital in this process. Such checklists are useful in the context of determining biodiversity and environmental monitoring and for many practical purposes such as assisting in identification and highlighting gaps in distribution. Furthermore, data from such checklists also have utility in a variety of zoogeographic investigations, such as contributing to an understanding of latitudinal gradients in species diversity and the geographic basis for proportionate faunal composition. All these are compelling arguments for developing and maintaining such resources.