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Ataenius dung beetle? - Ataenius gracilis

Ataenius dung beetle? - Ataenius gracilis
Nashua, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, USA
June 30, 2006
Size: about 3.5 mm

Images of this individual: tag all
Ataenius dung beetle? - Ataenius gracilis Ataenius dung beetle? - Ataenius gracilis Ataenius dung beetle? - Ataenius gracilis Ataenius dung beetle? - Ataenius gracilis Ataenius dung beetle? - Ataenius gracilis


Ataenius gracilis
This is a glabrous, shiny species, that compares well with A. gracilis in our collection (from CT to the Southeast, id'd by Paul Lago), and keys out there readily in Downie and Arnett. We do have some imbricatus also, identified by Paul Lago (also keying out well in Downie and Arnett), which are clearly not this species. However, this is another new species for NH, though it is a widespread eastern species commonly taken at lights, and so somewhat surprising that it hasn't turned up before. Thanks to Jim and Tom Murray, this has been an absolutely record year for taking southern species for the first time in NH.

In NH I'd also expect to see
Ataenius abditus (Haldeman), as well as A. imbricatus (Melsheimer) and A. gracilis. Also, I wouldn't be shocked to see A. brevis or A. cylindrus.

I wish there was little more detail in the head - A. gracilis has punctures in distinct rows. I'll see if I can't get a close-up shot of a pinned specimen. 3.5mm is as large as A. gracilis gets - most that I've seen are smaller.

see comments

even as Ataenius go, this is a small sp.

A useful paper on Ohio Ataenius - nice detail figures.

It looks rather dull in these images but was apparently shiny under your scope. I wonder if it just had a thin coating of grime that came off in the alcohol.

On the theory that a beetle in the hand of a coleopterist trumps all I have moved these images to a new A. gracilis species page.

Let me answer my own question:
I had kept this beetle in an alcohol vial in case Don wanted it. Here you see it removed from the alcohol and dried off. It still has a fairly dull appearance. (I re-shot it to be sure I was sending Don the same specimen as in this photo.)

A. imbricatus
A little tough to tell from a photo, but reasonably sure this is imbricatus. There aren't many 'dull' Ataenius.

I checked the New Hampshire checklist and imbricatus was not on it. Present are:

A. insculptus
A. spretulus
A. strigatus
A. fattigi

If this beetle is definitely not one of these four, then I'd better go hunting for the specimen because Don Chandler will want it.

Of those
listed above only insculptus seems like a possibility, but is usually slightly larger and most importantly, and I can't really see it - the elytra will have alternating intervals higher on apical fifth.

I'll look through my containers for that specimen and send it along to Don even though he hasn't asked for it yet. If I still have it that is.

Thank you, Phillip.
Moving to guide page.

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