Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New species, new characters

Scaponopselaphus diaspartos
I recently described a new species of Xanthopygina rove beetles in the Biodiversity Data Journal (I will write another post later to talk about that experience). The species is Scaponopselaphus diaspartos from Colombia. This is the second species in the genus, the first (S. mutator) described by Sharp long time ago (1876) in the genus Trigonopselaphus. The genus Scaponopselaphus was erected by Scheerpeltz (1972) when he realized that mutator was not similar to the other species in Trigonopselaphus.

The genus is rather easy to tell apart from other Xanthopygina rove beetles thanks to a unique morphological feature: the first tarsomere of the mesotarsus in males has spatulate setae. This is unheard of in other genera of Xanthopygines and that makes it a nice and easy diagnostic feature.

Mesotibia and mesotarsus of S. mutator. Arrow indicates the location of the
 spatulate tibia on mesotarsus. Scale bar = 0.68 mm. 

Spatulate setae are very common on the protarsi of rove beetles, but not so much on meso- or metatarsi.

The epithet of the new species (diaspartos) means "scattered" and refers to the distribution of the peg setae on the ventral side of the paramere. 

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