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Sharp (1876) described the first known species of Elmas, E. modesta from Nicaragua, in his new genus Selma Sharp. Later, Bernhauer (1915) described E. strigella from Brazil, also in Selma. Blackwelder (1952) recognized that Selma Sharp 1876 was a junior homonym of Selma Adams 1863, and he proposed the replacement name Elmas Blackwelder 1952. The remainder of the known species of Elmas was described by Ashe and Chatzimanolis (2003). Species of Elmas are Neotropical; they are distributed from Nicaragua to Bolivia, from 20 to 700 meters in wet tropical lowland forests (most specimens from 200 meters or below), except in Bolivia where they have been collected in Yungas forests at 1000 and 1450 meters.