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TaxonomyBrowseInfoImagesLinksBooksData
Photo#889614
Paracotalpa leonina

Paracotalpa leonina
west of Bishop, Inyo County, California, USA
January 28, 2014
Near Artemisia tridentata.

paracotalpa
Ceal Team 1 rocks! Best entomologist in the Eastern Sierra!

 
Er....
Only assuming there aren't any entomologists in the Eastern Sierra ;-) :-P

Note re: P. leonina vs. P. granicollis
Read this only if you've had difficulties with P. leonina vs. P. granicollis....

Going strictly by Arnett et al. (1), Evans (2), and Saylor (3), I previously mistakenly shoehorned this species into P. granicollis because 1) Saylor describes the "entire thorax" as punctate and covered with "long, erect, whitish hair," 2) Saylor calls out the only P. granicollis specimen he knows of from California: a beetle from Inyo County found at similar altitudes and in similar terrain about 30 miles southeast of the individuals I've found, 3) Evans places P. granicollis in the Great Basin desert of California (which overlaps this species' range in Inyo County) and 4) P. leonina is not mentioned except in Saylor, who says he does "not believe" Fall's (4) P. leonina "is valid" as a species (p. 200). Saylor (p. 196) also dismisses "a more bluish tinge to the thorax" as being "not of specific import" (for defunct P. pubicollis). However, the beetles I found didn't fit perfectly into any descriptions of the four commonly recognized Paracotalpa species west of the Rockies.

William Warner's 2012 post clears things up for those of us with keys or guidebooks that don't recognize or describe P. leonina. For extended comparison, see below for excerpts from H.C. Fall's (4) and Saylor's (3) original descriptions of P. leonina and P. granicollis, respectively:

Thorax

P. leonina (Fall): "Pubescence ashy white, erect, very fine, long and dense on the head and thorax....Prothorax not quite three-fifths wider than long and two-thirds as wide as the elytra; sides strongly rounded at about the apical third, thence rapidly converging and just perceptibly arcuate to the front angles, and straight and feebly convergent to the obtuse but well defined hind angles; punctuation fine and dense but not rugose..."

P. granicollis (Saylor): "Entire thorax densely, rugosely, and granulately punctate, with long, erect, whitish hair."

Elytra

P. leonina (Fall): Elytral surface is "alutaceous and a little dull." Hair is "sparser on the elytra where it is confined to a basal triangular area and a single row of hairs extending backward on either side of the suture to the apical declivity."

P. granicollis (Saylor): Elytra are "always reddish, strongly shining" with "hair varying from moderately dense to rather sparse; the striae always quite obvious."

Pygidium

P. leonina (Fall): "Pygidium finely sparsely punctate and shining, the punctures a little more numerous toward the sides and base but with scarcely a trace of rugulosity."

P. granicollis (Saylor): See "coloration."

Coloration

P. leonina (Fall): "…clypeus black; occiput, prothorax, scutellum and pygidium deep blue, elytra reddish brown; body beneath black, legs black with bluish lustre, the front and middle tibiae medially rufescent, the hind tibiae more completely so."

P. granicollis (Saylor): "Head, thorax, scutellum and pygidium varying from dull green to a dull greenish blue…"

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