Monday 26 December 2016

Placukorna ipsa: A new species of Rove Beetle from a high altitude Pine Forest in Veracruz State, Mexico.

Rove Beetles, Staphylinidae, are the largest extant Beetle group, with around 63 000 known species, and have been around since at least the Triassic. They are easily distinguished from other Beetles by their much reduced elytra (wing cases) that leave most of the abdomen exposed. Rove Beetles are found in all habitats where Beetles are found, and are a highly diverse group, both ecologically, and morphologically, though most species are elongated, between two and eight mm in length and predators on smaller Arthropods.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 13 December 2016, Quiyari Santiago-Jiménez and Rosny Santiago-Navarro of the Museo de Zoología at Universidad Veracruzana, describe a new species of Rove Beetle from Veracruz State in Mexico.

The new species is placed in the The Tribe Placusini, which currently contains four genera, Placusa is global in distribution, Euvira is found throughout the Americas, Kirtusa is known only from Ecuador and Speiraphallusa only from Malaysia. It is deemed sufficiently different from all of these to be placed in a new genus, Placukorna, meaning 'a horn on the surface plane' in reference to a horn which grows from its final abdominal segment, and given the specific name 'ipsa', relating the Bark Beetles Ips and Pseudoips, which it was found living alongside.

Placukorna ipsa, male specimen in lateral view. Santiago-Jiménez & Santiago-Navarro (2016).

Specimens of Placukorna ipsa ranged from 2.5-3.0 mm in length, and were dark brown to black in colour, with yellowish brown limbs. The species was found living in the galleries (excavated chambers in wood) of Bark Beetles in a mixed Pine forest at an altitude of 3090 m, on the northeast face of the extinct Cofre de Perote volcano in Veracruz State.

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