Quedius (s. str.) altaicus Korge, 1962

Salnitska, Maria & Solodovnikov, Alexey, 2018, Revision of the Quedius fauna of Middle Asia (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae, Staphylininae), Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift 2, pp. 117-159: 119-120

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Quedius (s. str.) altaicus Korge, 1962


Quedius (s. str.) altaicus Korge, 1962  Figs 5, 6

Quedius altaicus  Korge, 1962, 152 (original description); Coiffait 1978 (characters), 194; Toleutaev 2014, 44 (distribution records).

Material examined.

Holotype: Russia: female, "Zentral-Altai, lg. Leder, det. Bang-Haag [handwritten]/ unicolor Kies. det. Bernhauer [handwritten]/ ♀ Holotypus Quedius s. str. altaicus H. Korge [printed]/ Chicago NHMus M. Bernhauer Collection/ Holotype teste D.J. Clarke 2014 GDI Imaging Project [printed]/ Photographed Kelsey Keaton 2014 Emu Catalog/ FMNHINS 2819427 Field Museum [printed]" ( FMNH);

Additional material.

Kazakhstan: 1 ♂, West Altai, Ivanovsky Mt. Ridge, 32 km Leninogorsk [Ridder], 14.VIII.1986, 1300 m a.s.l., I.I. Kabak leg. ( ZIN); 1 ♂, SW Altai, E Narymsky Mt. Ridge, upper reaches of Shurshutsu River [Forpostnaya], lower forest zone, 21.VII.1997, 1300 m a.s.l., R.Yu. Dudko, V.K. Zinchenko leg.; 2 ♂, 1 ♀, SW Altai, E of Markakol Lake, Urunhayka, ground traps, 21. VI– 07.VII.1997, 1500 m a.s.l., R.Yu. Dudko, V.K. Zinchenkо leg.; 1 ♂, same locality and collectors, but 8 km ESE Matabai, north slope of Matabai Mt. Ridge, forest, 10.VII.1997, 1600-2000 m a.s.l, (NHMD); 1 ♂, Manrak Mt. Ridge, 12 km Priozerny [Tugil], 16.VII.1986, I.I. Kabak leg. ( ZIN); Russia: 1 ♂, Altai, Listvyaga Mt. Ridge, 10 km SSE Tesninskiy Belok Mt., Seredchiha River, forest, 27.VII.1997, 1200-1500 m a.s.l., R.Yu. Dudko, V.K. Zinchenko leg. (NHMD).

Comparative material on Quedius subunicolor  .

Type material: Paratypes: Sweden: 1 ♂, “Häggenäs s-n Jtl. T. Palm 4-8, 8 1945 [printed]/ det. H. Korge Quedius subunicolor Korge [printed]/ Paratypus subunicolor Korge [pre-printed]/ Quedius subunicolor Korge [handwritten]/ Type no. 1202:2 MZLU [printed]/ 2016 189 MZLU [printed]" ( ZMLU); 3 ♀, same data, but two last labels as "Type no: 1202:3 MZLU/ 2016 190 MZLU [printed]" (Fig. 5D) ( ZMLU); Additional material: Norway: 3 ♀, Fn. Nesseby h:d, Nyborg, 35483, 04-09.VI.1963, Gom. Israelson leg.; Sweden: 1 ♀, Nb. [Norbotten] Kihlangi, 10-17.VI.1947, T. Palm leg.; 1 ♀, Vittangi, 02-14.VIII.1963, Th. Palm leg.; 1 ♀, L. Lpm, Vittanger, 08.VI.1968, S. Lundberg leg.; 1 ♂, Lu. Lpm. Messaure, 09-16.VII.1973, K. Muller leg.; 2 ♂, 1 ♀, Jokkmokk, 21.V.1965, T.B. Engelmark leg. ( ZMLU).

Comments on taxonomy and type material.

The original description of Quedius altaicus  was based on two female specimens (a holotype and a paratype) from “Central-Altai” without precise record of the type locality (Korge, 1962). Such ambiguity was stressed by Korge who noted that the status of Q. altaicus  , which externally appeared very similar to Q. unicolor  and Q. subunicolor  , should be confirmed by the examination of male genitalia. Toleutaev (2014) recorded Q. altaicus  from Saur Mountains (Eastern Kazakhstan), but that record needs verification.

In spite of the ambiguous original description of Q. altaicus  , new material from Altai including males examined here for the first time can be safely attributed to that species. This material perfectly matches Korge’s original description, and the information together with high quality photos of the holotype available from the Field Museum online beetle type database ( FMNH, 2018). Besides, there are no other species in the Altai region that could be misidentified as Q. altaicus  . Quedus sundukovi  , the only other similar species distributed from the Russian Far East to the South-Western Altai is distinctly different (for details see below).

The aedeagus of Q. altaicus  (Fig. 5F, G) here examined for the first time is nearly identical with the aedeagus of the northern European Q. subunicolor  (Fig. 5B, C). Both species slightly differ from each other in the shape of a large sclerite in the internal sac (labeled as H in Fig. 5B, F) and the degree of development of the subapical teeth of the median lobe (less pronounced in Q. altaicus  , compare Fig. 5B, F). Comparison of the external morphology of the multiple specimens of Q. altaicus  to each other and with the available specimens of Q. subunicolor  , including its paratypes, demonstrates that the external characters provided by Korge (1962) as unique for Q. altaicus  (microstructure of the head, proportions of the pronotum, chaetotaxy of the head and pronotum) do not hold. Given a subtle morphological difference between both species and poorly sampled areas of Russia, there remains a possibility that Q. subunicolor  may be a polytypic species continuously distributed from the Northern Europe to Altai. Or, Q. subunicolor  and Q. altaicus  may be a hitherto unrecorded case of the boreo-montane distribution. Both species should be subject to further sampling in the area which seems as a distribution gap between them. Also, a DNA-based phylogeographic investigation would be interesting. Below we provide a redescription of Q. altaicus  .


Measurements and ratios (range, arithmetic mean; n = 8): HL: 1.4-1.5 (1.5); HW: 1.4-1.5 (1.5); PL: 1.7-1.8 (1.8); PW: 1.9-2.0 (2.0); EL: 1.7-1.8 (1.8); EW: 1.8-2.0 (1.9); FB: 5.0-5.2 (5.1); TL: 8.6-11.4 (10.0); HL/HW: 0.9-1.0 (1.00); PL/PW: 0.9-1.0 (1.0); EL/EW: 0.9-1.1 (1.0).

Body piceous black, only sometimes dark brownish; apical margin of abdominal segments vaguely paler; maxillary, labial palpi, and antennae dark-reddish; legs dark with paler brownish tarsi (Fig. 5E).

Head with broadly rounded, but distinct hind angles with microsculpture consisting of transverse waves; eyes as a long as or slightly longer than tempora; posterior frontal puncture situated closer to posterior margin of head than to posteromedial margin of eye; two to four additional punctures present along medial margin of eye between anterior and posterior frontal punctures; temporal puncture situated close to posterior margin of eye at distance nearly equal to diameter of puncture.

Antennae moderately long, segment 3 somewhat longer than 2, segments 4-8 longer than wide, each gradually becoming shorter towards apex, segments 7-11 about as long as wide.

Pronotum wider than long PL/PW: 0.9-1.0 (1.0), widest at posterior third, narrowed anteriad; hind angles broadly rounded, but distinct; dorsal rows each with three punctures; sublateral rows each with two to three punctures; waves of microsculpture transverse, similar to that on head. Scutellum finely punctured in its posterior half, with transverse or slightly isodiametric microsculpture.

Elytra parallel-sided, as long as pronotum, at base narrower than pronotum at widest point; shiny, punctation moderately dense and shallow, interspaces larger than diameter of punctures, pubescence yellowish-grey.

Abdomen with tergite VII (5th visible) with fine distinct whitish apical seam of palisade fringe; punctation dense and fine gradually becoming sparser towards apex of abdomen, surface between punctures with very superficial transverse irregularities, pubescence as on elytra.

Male: aedeagus: median lobe with acute apex and small teeth on its parameral side near apex (Fig. 5B, F); paramere distinctly protruding over apex of median lobe, with two pairs of setae apically and two pairs of longer setae laterally below apex, its underside with numerous sensory peg setae forming two subapical longitudinal rows connected near apex (Fig. 5C, G). Internal sac (examined in situ) with two pairs of strongly sclerotized microstructures positioned laterally and one characteristically shaped medial sclerite (Fig. 5H) with rounded apex.


Based on the structure of the aedeagus, especially the characteristic armature of the internal sac with the large middle sclerite ‘H’ (Fig. 5B, F; fig 189 in Assing and Schülke, 2012), Q. altaicus  can be placed in the group with Q. subunicolor  , Q. balticus  , Q. molochinus  and Q. meridiocarpathicus  . Quedius altaicus  differs from Q. meridiocarpathicus  in the unicolorus black coloration of the body (brown reddish with paler elytra in Q. meridiocarpathicus  ) and in the shape of the medial sclerite of the internal sac that has rounded apex. Some authors stressed a strong similarity of Q. subunicolor  (from which Q. altaicus  is hardly distinct) with Q. unicolor  , and the latter mainly Central European montane species was incorrectly cited as Q. subunicolor  in a number of the faunistic papers (e.g., Ciceroni and Zanetti 1995; Geiser et al. 2003; Boháč et al. 2004, 2005; Wojas 2006). Quedius subunicolor  (and Q. altaicus  ), however, can be easily distinguished from Q. unicolor  by transversal (not isodimetric) microsculpture of the frons and the structure of the aedeagus, especially by the internal sac with the obvious medial sclerite. From similar species that occur in Middle Asia Q. altaicus  can be easily distinguished by the following characters: from Q. fuliginosus  by the punctured (setose) scutellum and absence of additional punctures between anterior frontal punctures; from Q. sundukovi  by normally developed elytra (very short in distinctly brachypterous in Q. sundukovi  ), presence of fine whitish apical seam of palisade fringe on VII tergite (5th visible), and distinctly larger body.


Quedius altaicus  is known from “central” (Korge, 1962) and southwestern Altai. Records from the southwestern Altai stretching across the border between Russia and Kazakhstan, provided here, are the first exact distributional data for this subspecies. We were not able to examine the material on which Toleutaev (2014) recorded this species from Saur Mountains, the latter records remains ambiguous.


All clearly georeferenced specimens of Q. altaicus  have been collected at the elevations between 1200 and 2000 m.