On the synonymy of two species names of the genus Aphodius described by Iablokoff-Khnzorian

Frolov, A.V., Akhmetova, L.A. 2008. On the synonymy of two species names of the genus Aphodius Ill. (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae) described by S. M. Iablokoff-Khnzorian. Entomological Review, 87(3): 624–626.

Original Russian text: Фролов, А. В., Ахметова, Л. А. 2008. О синонимии двух названий видов рода Aphodius Ill. (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae), описанных С. М. Яблоковым-Хнзоряном. Энтомологическое обозрение, 87, 624–626.

DOI: 10.1134/S0013873808070075

On the synonymy of two species names of the genus Aphodius Ill. (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae) described by S. M. Iablokoff-Khnzorian


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, names of two Aphodius species are placed in synonyms: A. edgardi Solsky, 1876 = A. sartus Iablokoff-Khnzorian, 1971, syn. n.; and A. putridus Geoffroy, 1785 = A. avetissiani Iablokoff-Khnzorian, 1964, syn. n.

Iablokov-Khnzorian (1964, 1970, 1971) described a number of new species of scarab beetles including 2 species of dung beetles of the genus Aphodius from Transcaucasia and Middle Asia, namely A. sartus and A. avetissiani. These species are known so far only from the type specimens. Incomplete descriptions and lack of further findings necessitated clarification of the taxonomic status of these forms. Owing to assistance of M. Yu. Kalashyan we had an opportunity to examine the type specimens of A. sartus and A. avetissiani deposited in the Institute of Zoology of National Academy of Sciences of Armenia (Yerevan). This allowed us to establish new synonymy of the names.

Aphodius sartus avetissiani
Figs.1–3. Aphodius Ill. 1, 2 - A. edgardi Solsky (= A. sartus Iablokoff-Khnzorian): 1 – general view, 2 – aedeagus dorsally and laterally; A. putridus Geoffroy (= A. avetissiani Iablokoff-Khnzorian), general view.

Aphodius (Pseudacrossus) edgardi Solsky, 1876.

= Aphodius (Cinacanthus) medvedevi Iablokoff-Khnzorian, 1970 : 54 (nom. praeocc., non A. medvedevi Nikritin, 1969), syn. n.

= Aphodius (Cinacanthus) sartus Iablokoff-Khnzorian, 1971 : 184 (nom. nov. pro A. medvedevi Iablokoff-Khnzorian), syn. n.

A. sartus Iablokoff-Khnzorian, 1971, (= A. medvedevi Iablokoff-Khnzorian, 1970, nom. praeocc.) was described from a single male (erroneously identified by the author as a female) from Gandzhina (Tadjikistan) (fig. 1). In the original description, the following diagnostic characters are given: body dark brown, elytra reddish yellow with dark suture, fore part of pronotum slightly narrowed before  rounded fore angles. Elytral intervals flat, distinctly shagreened. Apical setae of middle and hind tibiae of different length.

Because of the short and situated basally fore tibial spur, the author placed the new species into the subgenus Cinacanthus A. Schmidt and compared it with A. gregarius Harold and A. sordescens Harold. However such shape of the fore tibia as well as characteristic shape of the aedeagus (fig. 2) are typical not only for the subgenus Cinacanthus (sensu Schmidt) but also for a number of, probably related, species which are placed now in the subgenera Bodilus Mulsant et Rey, Lunaphodius Balthasar, Melaphodius Reitter and Pseudacrossus Reitter.

The holotype of A. sartus examined by the authors of the present contribution is similar to A. (Pseudacrossus) edgardi Solsky in all characters. It differs from other specimens of A. edgardi only in the lighter color of body (especially of elytra). Probably it is a recently emerged, teneral specimen. A. edgardi is widespread in foothills in Middle Asia, including Tadjikistan (Nikolajev, 1987).

Aphodius (Plagiogonus) putridus Geoffroy, 1785.

= A. (Eccoptaphodius) avetissiani Iablokoff-Khnzorian, 1964 : 61, syn. n.

A. avetissiani Iablokoff-Khnzorian was described from 2 specimens collected in the nest of common vole (Microtus arvalis) in Goris District of Armenia. For this species a monotypic subgenus Eccoptaphodius was proposed with the following diagnosis: apical margins of elytra curved toward the suture; sutural angles spine-shaped; hind angles of pronotum concave; spur of fore tibiae does not reach the apex of first segment of fore tarsi. Author noted that elytral intervals 7 and 9 in the representative of the new subgenus are carinate and fused apically. This character is diagnostic for the subgenus Plagiogonus Mulsant, however the author did not provide differencesbetween Eccopthaphodius and Plagiogonus. In his later monograph (Iablokov-Khnzorian, 1967), he indicated the character to distinguish A. (Eccoptaphodius) avetissiani from А. (Plagiogonus) putridus Geoffroy (Plagionotus of the author): spine-shaped apices of elytra in the former species and truncated ones in the latter.

The name Eccopthaphodius was placed in synonyms of Plagiogonus by Dellacasa (1988), but the author did not examine the type of A. avetissiani. In the original description two specimens are mentioned. Of them, only one specimen with the label «Holotypus Aphodius avetissiani Khnz.» still exists (fig. 3). We compared this specimen with a large number of specimens of A. putridus, deposited in the collection of Zoological Institute RAS in Sankt-Petersburg, and found that the shape of its elytral apices is withing the limits of variability of this species.


The authors are thankful to M. Yu. Kalashyan for the loan of material. This study was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, grant no. 07-04-00482-a.


Dellacasa, M. «Contribution a world-wide catalogue of Aegialiidae, Aphodiidae, Aulonocnemidae, Termitotrogidae. Part I,» Mem. Soc. Еnt. Ital. 66, 1–456 (1988).

Nikolajev, G. V., Scarab Beetles (Coleoptera, Scarabaeoidea) of Kazakhstan and Middle Asia (Nauka, Alma-Ata, 1987) [in Russian].

Yablokov-Khnzorian, S. M., «New dung beetle from Armenia SSR,» Reports of AN ArmSSR. 39, 61–63 (1964) [in Russian].

Yablokov-Khnzorian, S. M., «New species of beetles from Armenia and other parts of the USSR,» Zoological papers, collected volume. 15, 50–80 (1970) [in Russian].

Yablokov-Khnzorian, S. M., «Two new species of scarab beetles from the USSR,» Reports of AN ArmSSR. 52, 182–187 (1971) [in Russian].

Yablokov-Khnzorian, S. M., Coleoptera. Scarab Beetles (AN ArmSSR, Yerevan, 1967), Vol. 6 [in Russian].

Supplementary materials
Aphodius sartus holotype

Aphodius sartus, holotype

Aphodius sartus holotype label Aphodius sartus, holotype, label
Aphodius avetissiani holotype Aphodius avetissiani, holotype
Aphodius avetissiani holotype label Aphodius avetissiani, holotype, label