A new paper just came out where Adam Brunke and I describe a new genus and three new species of Xanthopygina rove beetles. What makes this genus different from any other Xanthopygina that I have recently described is they are dull brown, with short elytra and no hind wings (aptery). You can read the whole paper here (open access)
Here is a little bit of background on this paper: many years ago I received a bunch of weird looking rove beetles from Zack Falin at the University of Kansas. Zack is a friend and long term collaborator/enabler of my rove beetle studies. Zack had identified these beetles as Xanthopygina but when I first looked at them, I thought "No way" and left them in a drawer.
Part of the reason why I am writing this blog post is because sometimes we, taxonomists, tend to ignore some specimens and not wanting really to acknowledge their existence.
I sort of repeated this exercise (look at the beetles, say no way) every year for a a number of years until last year. I am working on the revision of Xanthopygus, a multi-year project and I was looking for another project that I could finish relatively quickly so I can publish a revision before the Xanthopygus one. As I was browsing through the Xanthopygina specimens in my office, I noticed these little beetles again and I started looking at them under the microscope. I hated to admit it but Zack was right, these specimens were Xanthopygina. It also appeared that they did not belong in any of the existing genera currently in Xanthopygina. Last year, Adam and I finished a paper where we produced a phylogenetic tree of all known genera ofd Xanthopygina. So we reran the analyses with a few more morphological characters (there are no molecular data for Ikaros) and you can see the results below. We can definitely say that they do not belong in some lineages but until we get molecular data we wont's be able to say exactly where they belong.
I am particular proud of the etymology for this new genus. As I mentined in the paper: "The word Ikaros is an alternate spelling of the word Icarus, the son of Daedalus who (in the Greek mythology) constructed the Labyrinth. Icarus and Daedalus escaped the Labyrinth by flying with wings made of feathers and glued by wax. However, Icarus flew too close to the sun and the wax melted. The name is rather appropriate for this genus considering these are species found in high altitudes that have lost their wings."