Frolov, A.V., Vaz-De-Mello, F.Z. 2015. A new genus and species of Orphninae (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) associated with epiphytes in an Andean cloud forest in Ecuador. Zootaxa, 4007 (3): 433–436

DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4007.3.10


A new genus and species of Orphninae (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) associated with epiphytes in an Andean cloud forest in Ecuador

Andrey V. Frolov1,2, Fernando Z. Vaz-De-Mello2

1Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, Instituto de Biociências, Departamento de Biologia e Zoologia, Av. Fernando Corrêa da Costa, 2367, Boa Esperança, 78060–900 Cuiabá, MT, Brazil.

2Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Universitetskaya nab., 1, Saint-Petersburg 199034, Russia

Orphninae (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) are represented in the New World by the tribe Aegidiini, which is comprised of four genera (Paulian 1984). Examination of material collected in Ecuador revealed a series of the Aegidiini specimens from an undescribed species that cannot be classified as a member of one of the known genera. The new species is herein described and a new genus is established. Apart from the distinctive morphological characters, the new taxon shows an unusual, for the Orphninae, association with canopy epiphytes.

Photographs were taken with a Canon D100 camera equipped with a EF-S 60 macro lens. Partially focused serial images were combined in Helicon Focus software (Helicon Soft Ltd.) to produce completely focused images. Distribution map was generated with ArcGIS software (ESRI Ltd.). The material used for this study is housed in the following institutions: Museum of Zoology of the Catholic University of Ecuador, Quito (QCAZ), Entomology Section of the Zoological Collection, Federal University of Mato Grosso, Cuiabá (CEMT), and Zoological Institute, Saint-Petersburg (ZIN).


Onorius Frolov & Vaz-de-Mello, new genus

Type species. Onorius inexpectatus new species, here designated.

Description. Medium-sized beetles with uniform black coloration. Dorsal surface shiny, punctate with rounded punctures. Clypeus symmetrical or subsymmetrical, slightly convex anteriorly. Mandibles of the same length, slightly visible in dorsal view. Labrum hidden under clypeus. Head without suture and medial tubercle.

Pronotum narrower than elytra in both sexes; lateral and basal margins bordered and widely rounded, posterior angles rounded, anterior margin not bordered. Disc of pronotum with a small fossa medioanteriorly in male, evenly convex in female. Elytra without distinct striae visible as either depressed lines or puncture rows, with well-developed humeral and apical humps. Scutellum triangular. Wings developed. Mesocoxal cavities connected by a hole. Protibiae with three outer teeth, somewhat serrate basad of the teeth; in males, anterior spur is absent as in all Orphninae genera, but with smaller tooth directed mediad, similar to the males of other South American genera. Tarsi relatively robust end densely punctate; tarsomere 5 wider in lateral view than other tarsomeres, especially in protarsi, subequal in length to tarsomere 1 in mesotarsi and metatarsi. Phallobase tube-shaped; parameres symmetrical, with apical processes.

The present diagnosis is based on a small series of one species so it may not be comprehensive regarding coloration, sculpture, sexual dimorphism, and allometric variability.

The new genus is placed in the tribe Aegidiini because it shares the following adult synapomorphies of the tribe: metepisterna widened posteriorly (forming additional “lock” for closed elytra), mesocoxal cavities connected by a hole, phallobase tube-shaped (evenly sclerotized on dorsal and ventral sides), and protibia with inner apical tooth in males (Frolov 2012; Paulian 1984).

Diagnosis. The new genus can be easily separated from the other members of the Aegidiini by its less prominent mandibles (weakly visible or not visible in dorsal view), labrum hidden under the clypeus, and by the more robust and densely punctate tarsi with tarsomere 1 being relatively short (subequal in length to tarsomere 5) and tarsomere 5 relatively robust, wider in lateral view than other tarsomeres.

Etymology. The new genus is named after Giovanni Onore (Quito, Ecuador), founder of the Otonga Foundation, who collected part of the type series of the new species in the Otonga Nature Reserve. The gender of the name is masculine.


Onorius inexpectatus Frolov & Vaz-de-Mello, new species

Type material. Holotype, male: “ECUADOR COTOPAXI OTONGA 1900 m 3FEB1998 GOnore // Ex docel 16 m de alture” (QCAZ). Paratypes: 2 females with the same data as the holotype but the label “Ex docel 16 m de alture” (QCAZ, CEMT); 2 females, “ECUADOR COTOPAXI OTONGA AUG1996 FRios” (QCAZ, ZIN); 1 female, “ECUADOR COTOPAXI LAS PALMAS 1800m 04DEC1994 ETapia” (CEMT); 1 female, “ECUADOR COTOPAXI SIGCHOS ASACHE 1800m 31DEC1995 ETapia” (QCAZ).

Holotype description. Male (Fig. 1). Body length 9.6 mm, width of elytra 4.5 mm, width of pronotum 3.8 mm. Color uniform black.

Onorius inexpectatus
FIGURES. Onorius inexpectatus. 1–2—habitus (1—holotype, male, 2—paratype, female), 3—holotype, aedeagus in lateral and dorsal view, 4—locality map.

Clypeus rounded anteriorly, with weak sinuation on the right side making clypeus somewhat asymmetrical. Head densely punctate with round punctures separated by 2–3 puncture diameters. Head without traces of medial horn or tubercle. Mandibles and labrum not protruding past clypeus in dorsal view.

Pronotum 1.5 times wider than long, widest at basal 0.4 of its length. Anterior margin without border, basal and lateral margins bordered. Disc of pronotum with shallow fossa anteriorly and small tubercle apicad of this fossa. Surface of pronotum punctate with round punctures separated by 2–4 puncture diameters.

Scutellum triangular, narrowly rounded apically, about 1/15 length of elytra, with somewhat rugose surface.

Elytra convex, with marked humeral and apical humps, without ridges or other elevated areas. Maximum width approximately at the middle. Striae indistinct. Elytra punctate with round, moderately dense punctures separated by 2–4 puncture diameters; elytral punctures somewhat larger than those on pronotum. Base of elytra not bordered.

Wings fully developed.

Protibiae with 3 outer teeth and a smaller inner tooth. Lateral margin basad of outer teeth not crenulate. Apex and internal margin of tibia with a few slender setae. Protarsi well developed, about 2/3 length of protibiae. Claws 1/3 length of tarsomere 5. Tarsomere 5 as long as tarsomeres 2–4 combined, somewhat thicker than other tarsomeres. Tarsomere 1 as long as tarsomeres 2–4. Ventral surface of femora punctate with elongate punctures.

Mesolegs and metalegs similar in shape; metafemora and metatibiae about 1.2 times longer than mesofemora and mesotibiae. Femora sparsely punctate with elongate punctures. Tibiae somewhat triangular, with two apical spurs. Upper tibial spur as long as tarsomeres 1–3; lower spur as long as or a bit longer than tarsomere 1. Claws 1/3 length of tarsomere 5. Tarsomere 5 relatively robust, as wide as the other tarsomeres, as long as tarsomeres 2–4 combined, and as long as tarsomere 1.

Abdominal sternites punctate with elongate punctures. Sternite 8 about 2 times wider than sternites 4–7 medially.

Pygidium transverse, irregularly punctate, partly hidden under elytra.

Aedeagus. Phallobase tube-shaped, 1.3 times longer than parameres. Parameres are of complex shape, with 3 processes apically but without setation (Fig. 3). The shape of the parameres of O. inexpectatus is similar to that of a new species of Aegidium Westwood recently found in the Atlantic Forest ecoregion (Frolov, Grossi, & Vaz-de-Mello 2015). Except for the unusual shape of the parameres, the latter, however, has all the diagnostic characters of Aegidium and externally is dissimilar to O. inexpectatus. It is possible that the complex shape of the parameres is a plesiomorphic character state and thus does not suggest close relationships of the two taxa.

Paratypes. All the paratypes are females differing from the male in having a fully developed apical protibial spur, no inner apical tooth, convex pronotum without fossa and tubercle anteromedially, relatively narrower and more tapering apically pronotum (Fig 2), and longer abdominal sternites 8 and 7. Body length of the paratypes 9.0–9.5 mm.

Distribution and habitat. The type series was collected in a small area in the Toachi River valley (Cotopaxi Province, Central Ecuador) (Fig. 4). The area is occupied by native cloud forest, characterized by a thick cloud layer covering the forest even in the dry season (Jarrín 2001; Zunino 2007). The specimens were collected by sifting dead plant material accumulated between epiphytes and tree bark up to 16 m high (Giovanni Onore, Franz Ríos, personal communication). This is the first record of the Orphninae members collected form such a special habitat. Other orphnines, known from both New World and Old World, are presumably litter dwellers or specialist geobionts (Paulian 1948; Gourvès 1988; Frolov 2012; Gradinarov & Petrova 2012). Further investigations of scarabs associated with epiphytes in the Andes may reveal other, yet unknown taxa.

Etymology. From Latin, “inexpectatus” for unexpected.


Key to the New World Orphninae genera

1. Mandibles and labrum strongly protruding past anterior margin of clypeus; outer margins of mandibles with angulate processes ..... Aegidinus Arrow

-. Mandibles and labrum weakly or not protruding past anterior margin of clypeus; outer margins of mandibles without angulate processes ..... 2

2. Pronotum with irregularly shaped undulating contiguous punctures and with sparse erect setae ..... Paraegidium Vulcano, Pereira, & Martínez

-. Pronotum with round punctures, glabrous or with minute seta in center of punctures ..... 3

3. Tarsomere 5 relatively robust, wider in lateral view than other tarsomeres, especially in protarsi, and subequal in length to tarsomere 1 in mesotarsi and metatarsi ..... Onorius Frolov & Vaz-de-Mello

-. Tarsomere 5 relatively slender, not or weakly wider in lateral view than other tarsomeres, reasonably shorter than tarsomere 1 in mesotarsi and metatarsi ..... 4

4. Elytral striae as longitudinal rows of punctures; sutural stria normally distinct as a depressed furrow in apical half of elytron; punctation of elytra sparser (elytra appear shiny); elytra without elevated longitudinal keels or smooth stripes on disc; female with a tubercle on anterior margin of pronotum  ..... Aegidiellus Paulian

-. Elytral striae indistinct including sutural stria; punctation of elytra denser (elytra appear opaque to matte); elytron on disc normally with 1 or 2 weakly elevated longitudinal keels, sometimes appearing as smooth stripes on densely punctate background; female without tubercle on anterior margin of pronotum ..... Aegidium Westwood



We are thankful to Giovanni Onore (Otonga Foundation, Quito) and Franz Ríos (Quito) for information on how the specimens of the new taxon were collected, and to Álvaro Barragán (QCAZ, Quito) for loaning these specimens to us for study and permission to retain part of the type series. Two anonymous reviewers are acknowledged for the comments that improved the draft manuscript. This work was supported by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation of Brazil, CNPq (304925/2010-1, 302997/2013-0, 405697/2013-9, 484035/2013-4, 202327/2013-2, 400681/2014-5), Mato Grosso State Research Funding Agency (FAPEMAT- PRONEM2014), Russian state research project no. 01201351189, and Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grant number 13-04-01002-a). A.V.F. is a CNPq BJT fellow and F.Z.V.M. is a CNPq PQ2 fellow.


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