Aleochara (Xenochara) cuniculorum KRAATZ , 1858, Kraatz, 1858

Assing, V., 2009, On the taxonomy and zoogeography of some Palaearctic Aleochara species of the subgenera Xenochara M & R and Rheochara M & R (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Aleocharinae), Beiträge Zur Entomologie = Contributions to Entomology 59 (1), pp. 33-101: 38-43

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Aleochara (Xenochara) cuniculorum KRAATZ , 1858


Aleochara (Xenochara) cuniculorum KRAATZ, 1858   ( Figs 1-28, Map 1)

Aleochara cuniculorum KRAATZ, 1858   : clxxxviii f.

Aleochara (Polychara) peusi WAGNER, 1949: 18   ff.; syn. n.

Type material examined:

A. cuniculorum   : Lectotype ♂, present designation: "Marly, Lapin / 452 / Bonvl / Gallia / cuniculorum / B. / coll. Heyden / Coll. DEI Eberswalde / Aleochara cuniculorum Kraatz   / Lectotypus des. Lohse 1986 / coll. DEI Müncheberg / Lectotypus ♂ Aleochara cuniculorum Kraatz   desig. V. Assing 2009 / Aleochara cuniculorum Kraatz   , det. V. Assing 2009" ( SDEI). Paralectotype ♀: same data as lectotype ( SDEI)   .

A. peusi   : Paratype ♀: "Mark: Umg. Schönefeld / Paratypus / Aleochara Peusi   m. det. H. Wagner, Paratype! / Coll. W. Liebmann, Arnstadt / Coll. DEI Eberswalde / peusi Wgn.   det. Dr. G. A. Lohse 197 [sic] / coll. DEI Müncheberg / Aleochara cuniculorum Kraatz   , det. V. Assing 2008" ( SDEI)   .

Additional material examined:

Tunisia: A ♀, Sousse, 12 km NW Sousse, El Kantaouri , 25.-30.XI.1992, leg. Wrase (cAss)   .

Algeria: A ♂, 2 exs., Oran, leg. Reitter, etc. ( SDEI, cAss)   ; 3 exs., " Algier ", leg. Reitter ( NHMW)   .

Morocco: C exs., locality not specified, leg. Fauvel, Quedenfeldt ( NHMW).

France: 1 ex., Pyrénées-Orientales , locality not specified ( NHMW)   ; 1 ex., Provence , locality not specified ( SDEI)   ; 1 ex., Basses-Normandie , Calvados, Forêt de Cinglais, leg. Dubourgais ( NHMW)   ; 2 exs., Calvados , leg. Dubourgais ( NHMW)   .

Germany: Nordrhein-Westfalen: 2 ♂♂, Porta Westfalica, Wittekindsberg , badger burrows, 2.VIII.1992, leg. Borcherding (cAss)   ; 1 ♂, 1 ♀, same data, but 16.IX.1985 (cWun)   ; 1 ♀, Mönchengladbach-Gerkerath , moist mixed oak and alder forest, 22.XI.1998, leg. Wunderle (cWun)   . Niedersachsen: 1 ♀, Göttingen, Westerberg , badger burrows, 1.VI.1992, leg. Borcherding (cAss)   ; 1 ♂, E Hannover, Immensen , field, pitfall, II.1989 (cAss)   ; 1 ♂, Lüneburger Heide, Schneverdingen , Calluna   heathland, scarcely vegetated sandy spot, pitfall, V.1995 (cAss)   ; 1 ♀, same data, but IV.1996 (cAss)   ; 1 ♂, 1 ex., same data, but III.1997 (cAss, cSch)   ; 1 ♂, Schneverdingen , Calluna   heathland, pitfall, VI.2000 (cAss)   ; 1 ♀, same data, but IV.2000 (cAss)   ; 2 exs., Helmstedt env. ( NHMW)   ; 9 exs., Borkum , rabbit burrows, 22.V.1937, leg. Struve ( NHMW, cAss)   . Hessen: 3 ♀♀, Pohlheim Holzheim , hamster burrows, VI.1986, leg. Wunderle (cWun)   . Schleswig-Holstein: 1 ex., Husum , leg. v.Varendorff ( NHMW)   . Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: 1 ♂, Rerik i. M., 31.VII.1947 ( SDEI)   ; 1 ♀ [det. Feldmann], Rüterberg / Elbe , car-net, 3.V.2006, leg. Köhler (cFel)   ; 1 ex., "Strelitz" ( NHMW)   . Sachsen- Anhalt: 3 exs., Köthen , 5.IX.1909, leg. Heidenreich ( SDEI, cAss)   ; 13 exs., Köthen , leg. Heidenreich, etc. ( SDEI)   ; 1 ex., Köthen , 14.VII.1901 ( NHMW)   ; 4 exs., Dessau , badger burrows, XII.1937, leg. Heidenreich ( SDEI)   ; 2 exs., same data, but XII.1938 ( NHMW, cAss)   ; 4 exs., Dessau ( NHMW)   . Berlin / Brandenburg: 1 ex., Schildow ( SDEI)   ; 4 exs., Berlin , leg. Eppelsheim, Krieger, Weise, etc. ( NHMW)   . Thüringen: 1 ex., Gotha ( SDEI)   ; 1 ♂, Gotha , Xangenhan ( SDEI)   ; 1 ♂, Kyffhäuser, Schlachtberg , 9.V.1989, leg. Peschel (cAss)   ; 1 ♀, Nordhausen , hamster burrows, 12.VIII.1913, leg. Petry ( SDEI)   ; 2 exs., locality not specified ( NHMW, SDEI)   . Sachsen: 3 exs., Taucha , hamster burrows, 18.IX.1904, leg. Linke ( NHMW)   ; 2 ♂♂, 1 ♀, Leipzig , leg. Linke ( NHMW)   . Locality not specified: A   ♂, " Mittl. Elbe ", leg. Heidenreich ( NHMW)   .

Italy: A ♀, Toscana, Monte Pisani, leg. Linke ( NHMW)   .

Austria: Niederösterreich / Wien: 1 ♂, 2 ♀♀, Haschendorf near Wiener Neustadt , pitfall, IV.1968, leg. Malicky (cAss)   ; 1 ex., Brucker Heide , leg. Scheerpeltz ( NHMW)   ; 2 exs., Wien env., leg. Breit ( NHMW)   ; 3 ♂♂, 1 ♀, Stammersdorf / Wien , hamster burrows ca. 1-1.25 m below soil surface, 15.VII.1950, leg. Schweiger ( NHMW, cAss)   ; 2 exs., Rodaun , leg. Lang ( NHMW)   .

Czech Republic: 1 ♂, Velká Chuchle, hamster burrows, leg. Machulka (cAss)   ; 3 ♂♂, 2 ♀♀, 2 exs., Závist, leg. Zeman ( NHMW, cAss)   .

Slovakia: 1 ex., Bratislava, leg. Zoufal ( NHMW)   .

Poland: 1 ex., "Herrnstadt" ( SDEI)   ; 3 ♀♀, " Pommern ", leg. Schmidt ( NHMW)   .

Romania: 1 ex., 12 km from Piatra Neamţ, Monastir Horaica ( NHMW)   .

Greece: 1 ex., Pelopónnisos, Korinthía, Feneos , 37°56'N, 22°17'E, IV-VI.2006, leg. Miksch (cSch) GoogleMaps   .

Turkey: Konya: 1 ♂, Seydişehir env., 1400 m, 5.-6.VI.2003, leg. Smatana (cAss)   . Aksaray: 2 ♂♂, 5 exs., " Niğde " [probably incorrect; the locality is apparently in Aksaray], Taşpinar , Spermophilus   burrows, 10.IV.1966 ( NHMW, cAss)   . Urfa: A ♂, 1 ♀, Urfa, 600 m, V.1976, leg. Schubert ( NHMW, cAss)   .

Georgia: A ♀, Likhskiy Khrebet ["Suramgeb."], "Michailowo", leg. Leder ( NHMW)   .

Russia: A ♂, Sarepta, leg. Kraatz ( NHMW)   .

Israel: A ♂, Upper Galilee , Hurfeish, 33°01'N, 35°21'E, 680 m, pitfall, 17.III.2006 (cFel) GoogleMaps   .

Iran: 2 ♀♀, Fars, SE Darab, 12 km N Rostaq, Layzangan , 28°41'N, 54°59'E, 2010 m, 23.IV.2006, leg. Frisch & Serri ( MNHUB, cAss) GoogleMaps   .

Brazil: A ♂, Santa Catharina, Rio Capivary , 1888, leg. Fruhstorfer ( SDEI)   .

Locality not specified, illegible, or not identified: 7 exs. ( NHMW, SDEI)   ; 1 ex., " Jebel Hadir [?]", leg. Quedenfeldt ( NHMW)   ; 1 ex., " Silesia " ( NHMW)   .


The original description of A. cuniculorum   is based on an unspecified number of syntypes collected "près de Paris par MM. Jaquelin du Val et Henry de Bonvouloir, dans les trous le lapins" ( KRAATZ 1858). Two specimens qualifying as types, a male and a female, were found at the SDEI. The male is designated as the lectotype. One of the labels attached to this specimen suggests that G. A. Lohse intended to designate it as the lectotype, but this designation was never published.

Aleochara peusi   was described from several specimens ("in geringer Anzahl") from the "Teltow- Plateau bei Schönefeld", two specimens from "Köthen (Anhalt)", "zahlreiche Stücke" from "Dessau (XII.37) in einem Dachsbau", and two specimens from "Thale im Harz" ( WAGNER 1949). According to the key provided with the original description of A. peusi   , this species is distinguished from A. cuniculorum   by the shorter antennae with more transverse antennomeres V-VII, the more convex eyes, the denser and coarser punctation of the abdominal tergites VI and VII, and by the slightly shorter legs with relatively shorter mesotarsi. However, an examination of a paratype and additional specimens previously identified as A. peusi   , some of them from Köthen and Dessau, revealed that, regarding these characters, the material is within the range of intraspecific variation of the variable A. cuniculorum   ( Figs 3-4). Also, the genitalia are identical ( Figs 11- 12, 13-28), so that A. peusi   is placed in synonymy with the senior name A. cuniculorum   .

Aleochara dalila LIKOVSKÝ, 1984   , previously a subjective junior synonym of A. peusi   , is revalidated (see the following section).


Body length: 3.4-6.2 mm. Habitus as in Fig. 1. Coloration: head, pronotum, and abdomen blackish; elytral disc blackish, posteriorly with moderately delimited reddish spot of very variable size; this spot is usually rather small and of triangular shape, but may occasionally be almost completely obsolete or very large, leaving only the anterior margin, the scutellar region, and the lateral margins blackish; legs dark brown, with the tarsi and often also the tibia reddish to reddishbrown; antennae blackish-brown.

Head weakly oblong to weakly transverse; punctation fine and sparse; interstices much wider than diameter of macropunctures, without microsculpture; eyes variable, 1.8-2.5 times as long as postocular region in dorsal view, and moderately to distinctly convex ( Fig. 2). Antenna rather short and slender, but variable ( Figs 3-4).

Pronotum 1.28-1.39 times as wide as long and 1.50-1.64 times as wide as head, widest in or slightly behind the middle; posterior angles weakly marked; punctation slightly more distinct, more defined, and denser than that of head; interstices distinctly wider than diameter of punctures and without microsculpture ( Fig. 2).

Elytra approximately 0.8 times as long as pronotum; posterior margin near posterior angles obliquely truncate, not sinuate; punctation distinctly coarser and denser than that of pronotum ( Fig. 2); interstices narrower than diameter of punctures. Legs long and slender, but length somewhat variable; metatarsus approximately as long as metatibia; metatarsomere I slightly to distinctly longer than the combined length of II and III, sometimes almost as long as the combined length of II-IV.

Abdomen: tergites III-V with moderately deep anterior impressions, the impression on tergite V usually distinctly shallower than those on tergites III and IV; tergite VI without anterior impression; punctation of anterior impressions of tergites III-V dense and moderately coarse, that of remaining tergal surfaces somewhat variable, sparser on posterior than on anterior tergites; tergites III-VII without distinct microsculpture ( Fig. 5); posterior margin of tergite VIIÍ weakly concave. ♂: pubescence of sternite VII not conspicuously dense near posterior margin ( Fig. 6); posterior margin of sternite VIII distinctly produced in the middle ( Fig. 7); median lobe of aedeagus approximately 0.6 mm long, with slender and rather long ventral process ( Figs 13-24); flagellum rather stout and short, apical internal structures shaped like a wrench ( Figs 9, 25-28); apical lobe of paramere as in Fig. 8.

♀: posterior margin of sternite VIII broadly convex ( Fig. 10); spermatheca as in Figs 11-12.

Comparative notes:

Based on external characters (large eyes, long legs, coloration, punctation, etc.) and particularly the similar male primary and secondary sexual characters, as well as the similar habitat, A. cuniculorum   is very closely related to A. breiti   . It is distinguished from this species by slightly smaller average size, the narrower (in relation to pronotum) and more slender head, the slightly smaller and less bulging eyes, the more convex pronotum, the more slender apex of the ventral process of the median lobe of the aedeagus (lateral view), as well as by the different shape of the apical internal structures of the aedeagus (see Figs 25-32).

Distribution and bionomics:

According to SMETANA (2004), the distribution of A. cuniculorum   (including A. peusi   ) ranges from North Africa, France, and the British Isles across most of Europe to Mongolia and Uttar Pradesh. It was recently reported from Turkey for the first time ( ASSING 2007a). The above specimens from Romania, Tunisia, Russia, Iran, and Israel represent new country records. Based on the revised material, the distribution of A. cuniculorum   is of the Holo-Mediterranean type ( Map 1). It remains unclear if the species really occurs in Brazil or if the specimen in the collection of the SDEI (see material examined) was mislabelled; it would seem rather unlikely for a nidicolous species to have been introduced to South America or to have arrived there on the wing. For a selection of additional records see BARANOWSKI (1977), BEIER & KORGE (2001), FAUVEL (1902), HANSEN et al. (1994), JOY (1932), KOCH (1968), KÖHLER (2000), KÖHLER & KLAUSNITZER (1998), LIKOVSKÝ (1965a), LINKE (1907), LOHSE (1967), NORMAND (1934), and TRONQUET (2006). However, since intra- and interspecific variation, as well as the taxonomic status in this species group were previously unclear and, furthermore, since previous identifications were primarily based on external characters, most of the previous records require revision, particularly those from the Eastern Palaearctic region.

Based on the available evidence, A. cuniculorum   is nidicolous and associated with the subterrane- an burrows and nests of various mammals: badger, fox, rabbit, hamster, ground squirrel, common vole ( BARANOWSKI 1979; BICKHARDT 1907; GENSICKE 1960; HAVELKA 1964; HORION 1967; JOY 1932; WAGNER 1949; WEBER 1942; material examined), exceptionally also mole (BEAR & EVANS 1909) and sand martin ( WELCH 1997). According to HORION (1967), it was primarily observed from May through June and also repeatedly collected from the nests of mice and rats during the winter months. WELCH (1997) reports occasional records from carrion and dead wood. The species has been collected with pitfall traps from the second half of March through May, suggesting that this is the period when dispersal takes place. One of the examined specimens was caught on the wing with a car-net in May. According to MAUS et al. (1998), the dipteran host is the calliphorid fly Lucilia sericata   .


Naturhistorisches Museum, Wien














Aleochara (Xenochara) cuniculorum KRAATZ , 1858

Assing, V. 2009

Aleochara (Polychara) peusi

WAGNER, H. 1949: 18