Erroneous records
(Excerpt from: Smith, A. B. T. and P. E. Skelley. 2007. A review of the Aphodiinae (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) of southern South America. Zootaxa 1458: 1-80).

A number of dubious records of Aphodiinae species in southern South America have been reported in the literature over the years. We can only speculate how these errors were made, but misidentified specimens and specimens with erroneous data labels probably account for most of the errors. It is also possible that some introduced species were present in limited areas but failed to become permanently established. Here are some of the more noteworthy examples:

Aidophus flaveolus (Harold, 1868)


We consider the type locality “Chili” and the record from VII Región del Bío-Bío, Chile (Gutiérrez 1949) to be erroneous. The erroneous record of the type locality originated from the same paper (Harold 1868) and same batch of specimens (from the Kraatz collection) as the erroneous record of Odontopsammodius cruentus in Chile (species of Odontopsammodius tend to be rare in collections, with the exception of O. cruentus, which is readily attracted to lights). It is the only species of the genus known from the study region. Aidophus flaveolus only occurs in northern and central Argentina south to the province of Mendoza (Dellacasa et al. 2002). We included this genus in the key because the range may extend south into the Argentine parts of the study region. We suggest that the type locality of this species be emended to the area encompassed by the known range of this species (northern and central Argentina). Aidophus infuscatopennis is another species in this genus that has also questionably been reported in the study area. See the following account to distinguish these two species.


Aidophus infuscatopennis (Schmidt, 1909)


Landin (1955) reported one specimen from“Chile: Near “Frigorifico Rio Seco, N of Punta Arenas.” This specimen seems to have disappeared from the MZLU collection and we saw no Aphodiinae specimens whatsoever from the XII Región de Magallanes. This species only occurs in Paraguay and northern and central Argentina south to the province of Mendoza (Dellacasa et al. 2002). Aidophus species are similar in appearance to Aphodius (Labarrus) pseudolividus. They are distinguished by the head lacking tubercles, triangular scutellum, and metatibial spurs being adjacent. Compared to each other, A. flaveolus has a smooth clypeus with a normal margin), while A. infuscatopennis has the clypeus weakly rugose with an upturned margin.


Aphodius (Acrossus) rufipes (Linnaeus, 1758)

This species was reported from Chubut, Argentina by Bruch (1911). Although Aphodius rufipes has been cited on numerous occasions as occurring in the Neotropics, it appears that there are no sustained populations. This large species is known only from the Palaearctic and the Nearctic Realms.


Podotenus (Podotenus) gracilipes (Harold, 1868)

We consider the type locality “Chili” to be erroneous. This species was known only from the holotype until Stebnicka and Howden (1994) reported a second specimen
from Western Australia. Since the other 29 species of this subgenus are all endemic to Australia, and since Podotenus gracilipes has never been collected from South America, it seems clear that the holotype was mislabeled. We suggest that the type locality of this species be emended to the area encompassed by the known range of this species (Western Australia). Podotenus gracilipes is readily distinguished from Neotropical Podotenus by having the elytra distinctly, densely setose, with alternating intervals weakly tuberculate.


Parataenius derbesis (Solier, 1851)

This species was originally described from “la provincia de Santiago” (Solier 1851), has been reported from “Punta-Arena” (Fairmaire 1884) “Chile: Santiago, Colchagua” (Gutiérrez 1947), “Estero Pichi Pilluco, E of Puerto Montt” (Landin 1955), and Chalumeau (1992) recently designated a neotype from “Chili” (deposited in ISNB). However, we have not seen any specimens of this species from the study area and consider these records to be dubious. The original type material and the neotype are both 19th century specimens with unreliable label data and we were able to confirm that Gutiérrez records were based on misidentified Ataenius chilensis specimens (from specimens in HAHC). The
Fairmaire (1884) record from “Punta-Arena” was as the type locality for Ataenius crenatulus Fairmaire, 1884 (now considered to be a synonym of Parataenius derbesis). We were unable to locate any type material for Ataenius crenatulus in the MNHN. Since this locality is over 1,800 km south of the known distribution of this species we consider it to be dubious. The Landin (1955) record may have been based on a misidentified a specimen of Parataenius simulator (but we were unable to locate this specimen in the MZLU). We suggest that the type locality of both Parataenius derbesis and the synonym Ataenius crenatulus be emended to the
area encompassed by the known range of this species (Uruguay and the northern half of Argentina south to the province of Mendoza).

Parataenius derbesis is easily distinguished from other native eupariines by having evenly distributed pronotal punctures and elytral interval punctures dense and restricted to the central portion of the interval.

Literature cited:
Bruch, C. (1911) Catálogo Sistemático de los Coleópteros de la República Argentina. Pars IV. Familias Lucanidae, Scarabaeidae (Coprini-Cetonini), Passalidae. Revista del Museo de La Plata, 17, 181–225.

Chalumeau, F. (1992) Eupariini du nouveau monde: un mise au point (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae) (1re partie). Nouvelle Revue d'Entomologie, 9(3), 189–206.

Dellacasa, M., Gordon, R.D., Harpootlian, P.J., Stebnicka, Z. & Dellacasa, G. (2002) Systematic redefinition of the New World Didactyliini (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Aphodiinae) with descriptions of two new species of Aidophus Balthasar. Insecta Mundi, 15(4), 193–216. [Dated 2001].

Fairmaire, L. (1884) Note sur quelques Coléoptères de Magellan et de Santa Cruz. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France, (6)3, 483–506.

Fairmaire, L. & Germain, P. (1860) Coleoptera chilensia. Revue et Magasin de Zoologie, (2)12, 267–269.

Gutiérrez, R. (1947) Escarabajos comunes a Chile y la Argentina (Col. Scarabaeidae). Revista de la Sociedad Entomológica Argentina, 13, 309–314.

Gutiérrez, R. (1949) Notas sobre Scarabaeidae neotrópicos (Coleoptera Lamellicornia). Anales de la Sociedad Científica Argentina, 148(6), 9–35.

Harold, E. (1868a) Die chilenischen Aphodiden. Berliner Entomologische Zeitschrift, 11, 278–282. [Dated 1867].

Landin, B.-O. (1955) Reports of the Lund University Chile Expeditions 1948–49. 22. Coleoptera; Lamellicornia. Lunds Universitets Arsskrift N. F., Avd. 2. Bd. 51. Nr. 14, 1–14.

Solier, A.J.J. (1851) Orden III. Coleopteros, pp. 5–285. In: C. Gay (ed.), Historia Fisica y Politica de Chile. Zoología, vol. 5. C. Gay, Paris. 564 pp.

Stebnicka, Z.T. & Howden, H.F.
(1994) A revision of the Australian genus Podotenus A. Schmidt (Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea: Aphodiini). Invertebrate Taxonomy, 8, 17–62.


Authors: Andrew Smith ( Canadian Museum of Nature) and
Paul Skelley (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services).
This website is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No.0342189.
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