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Notiophilus sp., dorsal - Notiophilus directus

Notiophilus sp., dorsal - Notiophilus directus
Sandia Mountains, Bernalillo County, New Mexico, USA
September 30, 2012
Size: 4.9 mm
Download high resolution image here.

I collected this beetle on Tree Spring Trl. 147, 9200 ft, Sandia Crest 7.5’ quadrangle in the Sandia Mountains, Bernalillo Co, NM from a Berlese funnel loaded with forest floor detritus collected from under and around a rotting log in a conifer forest.

This image is derived from a stack of 78 images with a 28 µm step taken with a Nikon CF N Plan 4X/0.13 160/0 mm Achromat microscope objective + adapter/extension tube + Nikon D300 camera, and processed with CombineZP software.

Images of this individual: tag all
Notiophilus sp., dorsal - Notiophilus directus Notiophilus sp., ventral - Notiophilus directus Notiophilus sp., lateral - Notiophilus directus Notiophilus sp., anterior - Notiophilus directus Notiophilus sp., dorso-lateral close - Notiophilus directus

Moved from Notiophilus.

My first run through Lindroth key is "Notiophilus directus"
whose range includes NM. The strikingly high resolution should enable others more familiar with western "Notiophilus" to come to same or different conclusion.

N. directus
I've added more images to better show key features. They are consistent with the N. directus description and image of the Strickland Collection, and the more detailed descriptions of Casey, and Lindroth(1).

As for Lindroth's Notiophilus key (p. 93), we see from my images:

"Elytra each with two preapical punctures ... 1. [first] elytral interval smooth, shiny. Only one dorsal puncture ... At least femora and outer antennal segments +/- darkened. Prothorax less constricted [vs. very strongly contracted at base] ... At least outer elytral intervals microreticulate throughout (easiest observed behind the shoulder) ... Elytra quite dark or with a pale spot restricted to apical half ... [outer] Elytral intervals at most with quite obscure and sparse micropunctures ... Elytra usually paler (than entirely dark), reddish at apex, 2. interval broader than 3. + 4. Legs without pronounced color contrast, dark piceous to reddish, tibiae usually somewhat paler." identifies it as N. directus. I omitted "Frons with 6, clypeus with about 5 carinae" as a key feature since, despite my high resolution anterior head image, the precise number of carnae in each is subject to interpretation; the carinae are irregular. A case could made be that there are 8 and 7, respectively, which would imply it is N. obscurus. However, the key states that that species is only found in California. N. directus is found in New Mexico, so that is what it very likely is.

If you concur, could you please make a species page for it?

Outstanding scientific and educational value
are provided here by Edward in what certainly was a labor-intensive effort. Yes, geography is often a decider when morphology is subjective. I am impressed that high resolution here clearly shows surface microsculpture (mesh) near the shoulders.

Edward, my (very biased) request is that you devote your free time to posting such high resolution photographs of the enigmatic western carabid fauna. Your photographic quality is so good that image-based identification should be possible in cases where reliable keys are available.

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