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Testaceous beetle - Adelina - female

Testaceous beetle - Adelina - Female
Las Cruces, Doña Ana County, New Mexico, USA
December 25, 2005
Size: 3.5 mm approx.
Found under bark of (probably) pecan firewood.

Testaceous is a Latin-root word meaning tan or amber-orange, somewhere in there. Beer has been described as testaceous in color. You might ask, "If they mean tan, why don't they just say tan instead of using some term I've never heard before?" I think I know why. Just as Latin and Greek are used for scientific nomenclature to establish some uniformity among scientists from different nations , languages, and cultures, a whole set of descriptors of color, shape and texture based on Latin are employed so those same scientists can converse about a specimen and be understood, even though they don't speak each others' languages. Tan is not Latin-based, so it is not used in scientific literature.

Images of this individual: tag all
Testaceous beetle - Adelina - female Testaceous beetle - Adelina

female; almost impossible to ID unless associated with males

Thanks, Belov.

Moved from Beetles.

I think this is a Tenebrionidae in the genus Adelina. The subfamily is Diaperinae. This genus can be recognized for its extreme flatness and pale brown color. Males have epistomal horns, which are horn like horizontal projections in front of the eyes.

It does bear some resemblance to A*delina plan*us on the UFL website, though I don't think this one is the same species. I'll move it to genus for now.

btw, I notice the BISON site for New Mexico has no Adelina listed under their voluminous but idiotically organized site. (You have to look under "beetle, darkling," and it's not strictly alphabetically sequenced. Even at that, I suspect some tenebrionids are simply listed as "beetle," of which there are several widely seperated groupings in their list. Grrrr!)

plana or pallida
Two species, plana and pallida both occur in the SW. unfortunately, I think these are females and the only key I can find in English (there is a review of the group but its in French. search for the genus Doliema which is a synonym for Adelina) uses characters of the males to distinguish the two.

No luck
with Doliema either on BISON site.

no clue, this time . . .


Testa is a variant of Latin tosta, past participle form of torrere 'to dry up, scorch, burn' (the same verb gave us toast via Old French). It was extended to mean brick or pottery- which is 'toasted' clay. From this comes the color name- apparently their bricks weren't red like modern ones.

Testa in the sense of a clay pot was used jokingly to refer to the head in Latin slang, and stuck. French (one of many languages descended from that slang aka Vulgar Latin), still uses it in the form tête.

Related words include test (from a clay vessel used in medieval metallurgy), thirst, Latin terra (dry land), Latin testudo (tortoise), torrent, torrid, etc.

Thanks Chuck
It's great to have a resident linguist! Or would that be linguisticist?

Just kidding, Chuck!
I always thought it was "Linguisticator", as in "Hasta la vista (Spanish salutation) baby (English Slang, c. 1962)"..;-)

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