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round hairy beetle - Edrotes ventricosus

round hairy beetle - Edrotes ventricosus
Desert Hot Springs, California, USA
March 31, 2009
Kind of looks like a swollen tick or aphid at first glance.
Around this area 33°54'20.10"N 116°25'54.74"W

Dajoz produced lots of imaginary species

Moved from Edrotes barrowsi.

Moved from Edrotes rotundus.

E. barrowsi Dajoz 1998...confirmed by Dr. C. W. Barrows, UC Riverside.

Edrotes barrowsi
Thanks everyone.

Pleased to see...
...another new darkling species added to the guide pages (and a California specimen as well!). Congratulations on the find, Lynette. Out of curiosity, how small was the little hairy guy? It wasn't really as small as a tick or aphid, was it?

5 mm
In the 5 mm range I guess. About the same size as a large swollen tick or a very large aphid. I was pretty happy to find it, since I've never found one like it before. My mother has seen the other species with the lines in the same area.

Very cool!
Thanks for the extra info.

Moved from Edrotes.

Thanks Kojun!

edrotes rotundus. smaller an
edrotes rotundus. smaller and hairier than ventricosus.

E. barrowsi another possibility?
Another species, Erdotes barrowsi, apparently a rare endemic of the western Coachella Valley (where Lynette took her photo here), was described by R. Dajoz in 1998 (see genus info page for reference details). It too is described as smaller than E. ventricosus...which is more common and also occurs in the Coachella Valley.

La Rivers (1947) revision (which can be read online here) stated the range of E. rotundus included "Colorado, western Texas, New Mexico, portions of Utah, at least eastern Arizona, northern Mexico, and Baja California". He didn't include CA. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean it couldn't occur in the Coachella Valley...but it gives one pause. (I couldn't find any more recent distribution info.)

Looking for other characters that might help tack down the species I noticed that:

1) La Rivers (1947) stated the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th antennal joints of E. rotundus are equal;

2) Casey (1907) stated the 2nd antennal joint of E. rotundus was "much longer than the 4th"...while other taxa he defined which have been synonymized with E. rotundus he described as having 2nd antennal joint equal to 4th. (See here for all the details of Casey's treatment of E. rotundus, as well as synonymous species...which are listed on the E. rotundus info page);

3) Dajoz (1998) gave the ratios of the first six antennal segments of E. barrowsi as 9:14:23:16:14:13

Of the above, Dajoz's description seems to fit the left antenna in Lynette's photo fairly well, while those of La Rivers and Casey don't...although La Rivers' does fit well with the post of E. rotundus in the thumb below:

Round hairy beetle
Not rare in Nevada. I spent two days in the desert of Lyon County near Yerington. I was walking the desert owned by the Indian Reservation. Out with friends and we spotted these all over the desert. They would come out of the sand or just be walking around once the day warmed up. When I stopped to take a look they would crawl toward me. When they crawl out of the sand, sand would be sticking in the hairs.

Good to have your report...can you post images?
Currently the only Nevada post we have for Edrotes is from the Las Vegas area:

It would be great to have more images from Nevada...especially from further north (and east).

If the round, hairy beetle you saw is indeed Edrotes, then I'd guess it's probably E. ventricosus, which was recorded from Lyon Co. in La Rivers (1947) and apparently is not rare in Nevada, consistent with your observations.

E. ventricosus is quite variable, as circumscribed by La Rivers (who synonymized a number of names Casey and others has introduced earlier). As in the Las Vegas post, the form in Lyon Co. may not have the long hairs on the elytra clearly aligned in 4 rows (as it does in other areas) it could resemble E. barrowsi. Circumscription of species can be subtle in this genus, and clear, detailed photos (dorsal, ventral, and also close-up of antennae) together with measurements would be very helpful.

Or better yet, if you could collect a few specimens we could send them to Dr. Barrows. Edrotes barrowsi would be extremely unlikely in Lyon Co., and of interest if it could be verified.

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