Haplidia, Hope, 1837

Montreuil, Olivier, Uliana, Marco & Sehnal, Richard, 2020, The genus Haplidia Hope in Lebanon (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Melolonthinae: Rhizotrogini), Zootaxa 4718 (4), pp. 536-548: 537-538

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Haplidia   and Haplidia fissa   , historical background

The genus name Aplidia   was introduced by Hope (1837) to accommodate a single taxon, Melolontha transversa Fabricius, 1801   , type species of the genus. Burmeister (1855) recognized a second species, Aplidia fissa   , based on a Syrian—Mesopotamian female specimen whose re-examination was apparently neglected by all following authors. As a matter of fact, various subsequent identifications, descriptions of new species, and compilations of systematics catalogues for the genus seem to have been often based on literature alone, without re-examination of specimens, namely types. One of such catalogues ( Harold 1869) also introduced the incorrect subsequent spelling Haplidia   , which was retained for over a century (e.g., Reitter 1902; Grandi 1925; Petrovitz 1958, 1967, 1970, 1971a, b; Viggiani 1969, 1977; Carpaneto 1979; Baraud 1975, 1977, 1988, 1990, 1992; Sabatinelli 1991; Coca Abia & Martìn Piera 1993; Keith 2000a, b; Coca Abia 2004; Pesarini 2004; Keith & Lo Cascio 2005). The original spelling was reintroduced by recent authors such as Chikatunov & Pavlíček (1997), followed by Smetana & Král (2006), Bezděk (2016) and in recent contributions (e.g., Boyer 2014; Miessen 2016; Soldati et al. 2016; Mienis 2017; Lambert & Lemaire 2018). However, based on Article ( ICZN 1999), the spelling Haplidia   should be retained as correct, as being in prevailing usage and attributed to the original author and date. Consequently, Haplidia fissa   is the original combination for Burmeister’s taxon (Article 33.3.1).

Forty-five years after the introduction of Haplidia, Kraatz (1882)   published the first comprehensive revision of the genus. Regarding Haplidia fissa   , he identified as such some female specimens from Lebanon (Beyrouth) that in his opinion best agreed with the description of the Syrian—Mesopotamian female of H. fissa   , and used the associated male specimens for a supplemental description of the species, thus providing the basis for the misidentifications that followed. Subsequent authors of descriptive and faunistic articles, revisions and catalogues followed Kraatz’s (1882) interpretation (e.g., Reitter 1902; Dalla Torre 1912; Petrovitz 1967, 1970, 1971a; Baraud 1975; Montreuil 2005).

Also Baraud’s (1988) revision of the whole genus maintained the identification of the species sensu Kraatz (1882). This revision included the study of the Kraatz and Petrovitz collections and the redescription of Haplidia fissa   male (sensu Kraatz), but not an examination of the type in Burmeister’s collection. Kraatz’s concept of Haplidia fissa   was therefore reconfirmed and, as such, accepted also by Sabatinelli (1991), Chikatunov & Pavlíček (1997), Keith (2000a, b), Keith & Lo Cascio (2005), Montreuil (2005), Smetana & Král (2006), Bezděk (2016) and Miessen (2016).

After examination of the female type of Haplidia fissa   that we could locate in Burmeister’s collection we could ascertain (Sehnal, in press) that it belongs to the genus Medeotrogus Keith, 2001   , recently described on specimens from Iraq and Iran. Among characters of the genus are some that are similar to Haplidia   , such as emarginated clypeus, integuments ranging from glossy to matte chestnut brown, the male body symmetrically elongate, whereas in females the posterior part of the elytra is markedly wider. Such similarity, and the lack of study of the primary type, caused the misinterpretation of Haplidia fissa   .

As no name is available for Haplidia fissa sensu Kraatz (1882)   , we propose for the species commonly referred as such the new name Haplidia karlaeschneiderae Sehnal, Montreuil & Uliana   , new species.