Frolov, A.V., Akhmetova, L.A. 2008. On the synonymy of two names of species of the genus Aphodius Ill. (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae) described from Siberia. Entomological Review, 88(8): 916-917.

DOI: 10.1134/S0013873808080058

On the synonymy of two names of species of the genus Aphodius Ill. (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae) described from Siberia

Frolov, A.V., L.A. Akhmetova

Laboratory of Insect Systematics, Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Universitetskaya nab., 1, St. Petersburg 199034, Russia


Based on examination of the type material, the following new synonymy is established: A. granarius (L., 1767) = A. tomskianus Balthasar, 1973, syn. n., A. granarius (L., 1767) = A. pecirkai Balthasar, 1932, syn. n. 


Balthasar described 2 species of the scarab beetles of the genus Aphodius from Siberia, namely A. pecirkai Balthasar, 1932 and A. tomskianus Balthasar, 1973. These species are known so far only from the type specimens and their original descriptions essentially coincide. Lack of further findings and diagnostic characters to distinguish them necessitated clarification of the taxonomic status of these forms. Recently we had an opportunity to examine the type specimens of these species housed in the National Museum of Natural History in Prague (NMPC) and this allowed us to establish new synonymy.

Aphodius (Calamosternus) granarius (L., 1767)

= A. (Agrilinus) pecirkai Balthasar, 1932 : 40, 1964 : 389, syn. n.

= A. (Calamosternus) tomskianus Balthasar, 1973 : 55-56, syn. n.

Type material. A. tomskianus: holotype female with labels: "Tomsk.", "coll. Reitter", "Holotypus Aph. (Calamosternus) tomskianus Balth. m" (NMPC). A. pecirkai: holotype female with labels: "Typus", "Det. Dr. Balthasar a. Pečirkai m." and "Werchne-Udinsk Transbaikal. Mandl" (NMPC).

A. pecirkai was described from a single female from Werchne-Udinsk. A. tomskianus was described from a single female (erroneously identified by the author as a male) from Tomsk environs. In the original descriptions of the both species the following diagnostic characters are given.

Body convex, glabrous, shiny. Pronotum dark on the disc and paler on sides. Elytra reddish brown, sutural intervals dark brown, legs brown. Head irregularly punctate. Frontal suture slightly tuberculate in the middle. Clypeus feebly sinuate in the middle, widely rounded at sides of sinuation. Genae feebly protruding past eyes. Pronotum irregularly punctate, adjasent punctures strongly differ in size. Hind angles of pronotum rounded. Elytral striae fine, intervals flat, with fine punctuation. First segment of hind tarsus about as long as upper apical spur of hind tibia and two following segments together. Body length 4 mm.

Descriptions of the two species differ in pentagonal (A. tomskianus) and triangular (A. pecirkai) scutellum, and in the head and pronotum coloration which is, according to Balthasar (1932, 1973), black (except for reddish sides) in the former species and dark brown in the latter. In his monograph (Balthsar 1964) the author gave a key to the species of the subgenus Agrilinus, including A. pecirkai. According to this key, A. pecirkai is most similar to far-eastern species A. pratensis Nomura et Nakane, 1951, but differs from it in having finer head punctuation, rounded hind angles of pronotum, reddish brown elytra, fine elytral stria, and by the length of of 1st segment of hind tarsus. In the description of  A. tomskianus,the author compared it with A. lucidus Klug, 1845, and separated by the following characters: frons very feebly tuberculate, pronotum smaller and more densely punctate, scutellum and elytral intervals only finely punctate, 1st segment of hind tarsus as long as or shorter than upper apical spur of tibia and two following segments together.

Examination of the types of  A. tomskianus and A. pecirkai showed that they are simlar in all characters including coloration and sculpture of dorsal side of the body, and differ only in the shape of the scutellum which is more or less pentagonal in the former specimen and somewhat triangular in the latter. Shape of scutellum is, generally, quite stable character in the genus Aphodius and is used to differentiate subgenera. In particular, pentagonal, narrow scutellum is characteristic for the subgenus Calamosternus Motschulsky. However, similar to other characters, shape of the scutelum is subject to some variability and, in aberrant or malformed specimens, can differ significantly from typical for a species.

We compared the types of A. tomskianus and A. pecirkai with extensive material available in the Zoological Institute (ZIN) and found that these specimens are conspecific with A. granarius. Uniform black-brown coloration is typical for A. granarius. Teneral, reddish brown specimens can also be found in the collections. But probably reddish brown coloration can be an aberration withing the interspecific variability. Forms with such coloration were described as А. granarius ab. suturalis Faldermann, 1836. Reddish brown specimens from different parts of the species range are well represented in the collection of ZIN.

According to the literature, A. granarius is now widely distributed in temperate and subtropical regions, although its native range is probably limited to Palaearctic Region. In Russia, this species is known from European part and West Siberia up to Kemerovo Province in the east (Zinchenko, 2003). Therefore the type locality of A. tomskianus is withing the reliably known range of A. granarius. This species is not recorded from Transbaikalia (where from A. pecirkai was described) but considering insufficiently known fauna of the region it is possible that it occurs there as well. There is also a possibility that the type of  A. pecirkai was mislabeled.


The authors are thankful to Jiří Hájek (NMPC) for the loan of material. This study was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, grant no. 07-04-00482-a and by a grant from the Committee for Science and Higher School of the Government of Sankt-Petersburg .


Balthasar, V., “Neue Scarabaeiden aus Szetschwan und Transbaikalien,” Ent. Nachrichtenbl. 6, 30–43 (1932).

Balthasar, V., Monographie der Scarabaeidae und Aphodiidae der palaearktischen und orientalischen Region. III. Aphodiidae (Prague, 1964).

Balthasar, V., “Neue Arten der Gattung Aphodius Ill.,” Ent. Blätter. 1, 51–56 (1973).

Zinchenko, V. K. “Structure of the species composition of the nidicolous and coprophilous beetles (Coleoptera) of marmot holes in Kemerovo Province,” Eurasian Entomological Journal. 2(4), 279–280 (2003) [in Russian].