Tag Archives: Coleoptera

New Species: March 1 to 10

by Piter Kehoma Boll

Here is a list of species described from March 1 to March 10. It certainly does not include all described species. Most information comes from the journals Mycokeys, Phytokeys, Zookeys, Phytotaxa, Zootaxa, International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, and Systematic and Applied Microbiology, as well as journals restricted to certain taxa.

Pristimantis_attenboroughi

Pristimantis attenboroughi is a new frog species described in the past 10 days and named in honor of Sir David Attenborough.

SARs

Plants

Fungi

Sponges

Entoprocts

Annelids

Kinorhynchs

Nematomorphs

Nematodes

Arachnids

Myriapods

Crustaceans

Hexapods

Ray-finned fishes

Lissamphibians

Reptiles

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Friday Fellow: Sun Beetle

ResearchBlogging.orgby Piter Kehoma Boll

Who says beetles cannot be cute? Take a look at those guys:

pachnoda_marginata

They are eating a piece of banana. Photo by Wikimedia user Evanherk.*

These little fellows are beetles of the species Pachnoda marginata, commonly known as sun beetle or taxi cab beetle. Native from Africa, they reach up to 30 mm as adults and 60 mm as larvae and are one of the most common beetles raised as pets.

pachnoda_marginata_peregrina

An adult with the wings exposed, about to fly. Photo by Wikimedia user Drägüs.*

The sun beetle has nine subspecies, each with a particular color pattern. The most well known subspecies is Pachnoda marginata peregrina and is the one shown in the photos above.

Since the sun beetle is easy to keep in the lab, it has been eventually used in scientific studies, especially some related to the neurology of the olphactory receptors.

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References:

Larsson, M. C., Stensmyr, M.. C., Bice, S. B., & Hansson, B. S. (2003). Attractiveness of Fruit and Flower Odorants Detected by Olfactory Receptor Neurons in the Fruit Chafer Pachnoda marginata Journal of Chemical Ecology, 29 (5), 1253-1268 DOI: 10.1023/A:1023893926038

Stensmyr, Marcus C., Larsson, Mattias C., Bice, Shannon, & Hansson, Bill S. (2001). Detection of fruit- and flower-emitted volatiles by olfactory receptor neurons in the polyphagous fruit chafer Pachnoda marginata (Coleoptera: Cetoniinae) Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 187 (7), 509-519

Wikipedia. Pachnoda marginata. Availabe at: < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachnoda_marginata >. Access on September 8, 2016.

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Friday Fellow: Gold-and-Brown Rove Beetle

ResearchBlogging.orgby Piter Kehoma Boll

It’s time for our next beetle. Today the fellow I chose is Ontholestes cingulatus or gold-and-brown rove beetle. Rove beetles are the second most numerous family of beetles after weevils. Their more remarkable feature is that their elythra are short, not covering the abdomen most of the time. I always say that they look like if they were wearing a little jacket. So if you find an elongate beetle with short jacket-like elythra, it is most likely a rove beetle.

The gold-and-brown rove beetle is found throughout North America and is a predator as most rove beetles. It is usually found near carrion and dung, but it is not a scavenger. What it does there is too prey on fly larvae feeding on the rotten material.

An adult showing the nice golden "tail". Photo by Bruce Marlin.*

An adult showing the nice golden “tail”. Photo by Bruce Marlin.*

The gold-and-brown rove beetle is 13–20 mm long and mostly brown, but the last abdominal segments, as well as the underside of the thorax, have a beautiful and shiny gold color.

The mating behavior of the gold-and-brown rove beetle is interesting. Usually the male stays around the female after copulating with her in order to guard her from other males. This behavior usually ends soon after the female has laid the eggs, since at this point the male can be sure that he is the father of the children. To perform this guarding behavior is costly for the male, as he could be using this time to copulate with another female. But as receptive females are kind of rare, it is more advantageous to assure the paternity of the offspring of at least one female than to risk losing everything.

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References:

Alcock, J. (1991). Adaptive mate-guarding by males of Ontholestes cingulatus (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) Journal of Insect Behavior, 4 (6), 763-771 DOI: 10.1007/BF01052230

BugGuide. Species Ontholestes cingulatus – Gold-and-Brown Rove Beetle. Available at: < http://bugguide.net/node/view/9548 >. Access on August 1, 2016.

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Friday Fellow: Green Tiger Beetle

by Piter Kehoma Boll

It is small, it is green, it is a fearsome predator… it is the green tiger beetle!

Look at this evil face. Photo by Wikimedia user Captainpixel*

Look at this evil face. Photo by Wikimedia user Captainpixel*

Cientitically known as Cicindela campestris, the green tiger beetle is a small and beautiful beetle found throughout Europe, being the most common tiger beetle in the continent. The adults can be seen from April to September and are 12–15 mm long, females being slightly larger than males. The dorsal color is green and the elythra have some small yellowish spots. The eyes and mandibles are large, revealing its predatory nature.

A pair of Cicindel campestris mating.

A pair of Cicindela campestris mating. Photo by Sander van der Molen.**

The green tiger beetle likes sunny places, usually open sites with little vegetation, and can run fast on the ground, chasing other small invertebrates, usually insects. The larvae are predatory as well and dig burrows from where they ambush other insects, especially ants.

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References:

EOL – Encyclopedia of Life. Green Tiger Beetle. Availabe at: < http://eol.org/pages/2869562/overview >. Access on June 16, 2016.

Wikipedia. Cicindela campestris. Availabe at: < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicindela_campestris >. Access on June 16, 2016.

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Friday Fellow: Hitler’s Beetle

by Piter Kehoma Boll

There are so many beetles in this world that they are the most frequent Friday Fellows. There are also so many of them that even Adolf Hitler has one for himself and this poor animal is going to be presented here today. Its name is Anophthalmus hitleri, the Hitler’s beetle.

This poor fellow was named in 1937 when Hitler had just become Chancellor of Germany. Despite the bad taste, there are no rules in zoological nomenclature that would allow this name to be changed just because the homage was to one of the most atrocious humans in history.

The Hitler's beetle is dull and boring and to make its life worse, it was named in honor of Hitler. Photo by Michael Munich.

The Hitler’s beetle is dull and boring and, to make its life worse, it was named in honor of Hitler. Photo by Michael Munich*.

Now what else can we say about this doomed insect? Not much, I’m afraid. It is found in the cave systems of Slovenia and is considered a troglobiont, i.e., a species fully adapted to live underground. As with most such species, the Hitler’s beetle is eyeless, as vision is useless in the permanent darkness of caves. Little, if nothing, is known about its ecology. It is a carabid beetle, so it probably feeds on other invertebrates, hunting them.

Spending its whole life inside a cave, the Hitler’s beetle is not colorful and has no extravagant structures, but its lame name made it famous. At least the poor animal will never know.

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References:

Novak, T.; Perc, M.; Lipovšek, S.; Janžekovič, F. 2012. Duality of terrestrial subterranean fauna. International Journal of Speleology, 41(2): 181–188.

Wikipedia. Anophthalmus hitleri. Available at: < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anophthalmus_hitleri >. Access on June 17, 2016.

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Friday Fellow: Giraffe weevil

by Piter Kehoma Boll

Today we are going back to Madagascar, that weird African island that fights against Australia for the title of the most bizarre place on Earth. We already presented one of its inhabitants, the Grandidider’s Baobab, and today I’ll show you a tiny and unusual beetle, the giraffe weevil, Trachelophorus giraffa.

A male giraffe weevil. Photo by Frank Vassen*

A male giraffe weevil. Photo by Frank Vassen*

The reason of the name of this adorable creature is obvious at first sight. The unusual long neck most likely evolved through sexual selection, as it is three times longer in males than in females. Despite looking as something very inconvenient, the giraffe weevil’s neck is actually useful in helping it to roll leaves in order to build a nest.

Measuring only about 2.5 cm in length, it is a considerably popular animal in lists of weird creatures, but unfortunately little is known about its life history and, just as virtually all life forms in the island, is threatened by habitat loss.

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References:

EOL. Giraffe Beetle. Available at: < http://eol.org/pages/621154/overview >. Access on May 16, 2016.

Wills, C. (2010) The Darwinian Tourist: Viewing the World Through Evolutionary Eyes. Oxford University Press.

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Friday Fellow: Red flour beetle

by Piter Kehoma Boll

As beetles are the most rich group of organisms in the world, it is normal to select many of them as Friday Fellows. Today I’ll present you the most widespread species, the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum).

A red flour beetle. Photo by Eric Day.

A red flour beetle. Photo by Eric Day.

Measuring 3 to 5 mm as adults, these small insects are a main pest of stored food, especially grains, and have been associated with humans for thousands of years. They are more common in tropical habitats, being replaced in temperate regions by a very similar species, the confused flour beetle (Tribolium confusum).

Despite having fuctional wings, the red flour beetle rarely flies, only using this ability to find new food sources when starving. As a consequence, it has become a model organism for laboratory studies, especially for studies related to development and reproductive strategies.

Most populations of the red flour beetle have a very low genetic diversity and, as a result, most of the offspring suffers from inbreeding problems. In order to bypass this problem, females from such populations are highly likely to be polyandrous, i.e., mate with many males during their lifetime, as this increases the chances that at least some eggs will be fertilized by suitable sperm.

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References:

Brown, S. J.; Shippy, T. D.; Miller, S.; Bolognesi, R.; Beeman, R. W.; Lorenzen, M. D.; Bucher, G.; Wimmer, E. A.; Klingler, M. 2009. The red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum (Coleoptera): a model for studies of development and pest biology. Cold Spring Harbor Protocols. doi: 10.1101/pdb.emo126

Dawson, P. S. 1977. Life history strategy and evolutionary history of Tribolium flour beetles. Evolution, 31(1): 226–229.

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