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Fall Fund Drive

Harpalini - Athrostictus punctatulus

Harpalini - Athrostictus punctatulus
Houston, Harris County, Texas, USA
July 18, 2008
Size: 8 mm
Shows that odd iridescent glint.

Images of this individual: tag all
Harpalini - Athrostictus punctatulus Harpalini - Athrostictus punctatulus

Athrostictulus punctatulus (Putzeys)
for the reasons discussed below. I believe it was George Ball's opinion that this taxon be moved from Selenophorus to Athrostictus, a genus characterized by their dorsa entirely setose - prominently and densely so. The Texan specimens that I've examined do demonstrate dense punctulae. However, the punctulae do not bear visible setae even under high power. On that basis, this taxon could have just as easily remained with Selenophorus like the case of Selenophorus opalinus which too is punctate dorsally but more sparsely so. There may be other criteria for Athrostictus that I'm overlooking.

Author Yves Bousquet (2012) credits this BugGuide page
in Catalogue of Geadephaga for the taxonomic placement of Selenophorus perpolitus Casey in synonymy with Athrostictus punctatulus (Putzeys). On page 1136 Bousquet specifically cites

Selenophorus punctatulus Putzeys vs S. perpolitus Casey
is what your image reminds me of during my current flurry of interest in the southwestern "Selenophorus" - still a taxonomically mysterious group! Body smaller and iridescence less than in very shiny "Selenophorus opalinus" fit these two species. Separation requires microscopic examination of specimen against key by Casey (1914) and the key in American Beetles (2001) to check for genus "Athrostictus" (really "Selenophorus punctatulus" intended there).

Thanks Peter
Next time I find one of these, I'll save it for you.

Athrostictus punctatulus =?= Selenophorus perpolitus
is what I now suspect after reviewing the original species account by Putzeys (1878), key by Casey (1914), and the additional morphologic/geographic clues given in American Beetles (2001) by George Ball - pp.53 & 95. Careful comparison of the type specimens would settle that question. I intend to ask specialist George Ball for his opinion on the matter. I am currently examining an iridescent and densely punctulate specimen like yours from Live Oak Co, TX. Your distant photos are unable to show the fine punctulae over entire dorsum. I would appreciate additional specimens for study. Thanks Graham.

I think some of Mike Quinn's many "Selenophorus" postings from TX might fall into this set. Mike's carabid determiner Ed Riley probably should be alerted.

Selenophorus/Athrostictus punctatulus = S. perpolitus
Regarding my above inquiry, here is the communication I received from George Ball on 03/26/2011: "I checked my card catalogue of names of North American seles that is based on examination of the type specimens, where, indeed, I had written that Selenophorus perpolitus Casey was conspecific with Sele. (= Athrostictus) punctatulatus Putzeys, and hence these two names are synonyms, that of Putzeys being senior, and hence valid for the species in question."

Conclusion: Selenophorus punctatulus Putzeys, 1878 = Athrostictus punctatulus (Putzeys, 1878) = junior S. perpolitus Casey, 1914.

I am not sure what the taxonomic rationale was by G. Ball in American Beetles (2001) for moving this relatively asetose "Selenophorus" (although densely punctulate) to genus "Athrostictus" which is characterized by dorsum uniformly and densely punctate with striking pubescence.

Here are some of the important anatomic characters
discussed in my letter to Mike Quinn 01/17/2011:

"Please read in that it might jog your memory for similar "Selenophorus" with the dorsum polished, iridescent, non-pubescent, and densely and evenly covered by non-setigerous punctulae. Such would be "Athrostictus punctatulus (Putzeys)", formerly in "Selenophorus" and apparently limited to Mexico and southeastern TX. Superficially resembling a small "Selenophorus opalinus", this one shows elytral punctulae larger & denser, forebody narrower, pronotum outline more evenly rounded, eyes proportionately larger, and first metatarsomeres quite long (compared to longest tibial spur). Problem is, Casey (1914) describes his "Selenophorus perpolitus" (Brownvsille & vicinity, TX) in pretty much the same way. I suspect synonymy."

Moved from Harpalini.

Moved from Ground Beetles.

Moved from Harpalini.

Moved from Harpalini.

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