Pheropsophus sobrinus,

Venugopal, Akhil S. & Thomas, Sabu K., 2019, Bombardier beetles of the genus Pheropsophus Solier 1833 (Carabidae: Brachininae: Brachinini) from Indian subcontinent, Zootaxa 4608 (1), pp. 65-89: 81

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Pheropsophus sobrinus


Pheropsophus sobrinus  ( DEJEAN, 1826)

( Fig. 3 F, 3 G, 3 HView FIGURE 3, 5 GView FIGURE 5)

= Pheropsophus desbordesi MAINDRON, 1899 

Brachinus sobrinus Dejean, 1826: 462  ; Chaudoir, 1876: 25; Arrow, 1901: 202; Andrewes, 1930: 273; Felix et al. 2012: 77; Hrdlička, 2017: 480; Ullah et al. 2017: 180.

Pheropsophus desbordesi Maindron, 1899: 16  ; 1905: 95; Arrow, 1901: 202; Bedel, 1914: 310; Andrewes, 1930: 273.

Specimens examined (n= 83): Holotype (by monotypy). labelled “in India Orient, Ex. Musaeo Chaudoir D. Dupont, sobrinus” in MNHN. 

Other specimens examined: 3 exs., India: Bengal , Coll. Lamarc Piqot  ; 1 ex., India: Pondicherry  ; 2 exs. India: Madras  ; 1 ex. India: Calcutta , Coll. Thieme  ; 2 exs. India: Calcutta  ; 1 ex., India: S. Indien: Coimbatore , 1400 ft. XII.69, Coll. P.S. Nathan  ; 1 ex. India: Pondicherry  ; 22 exs. India: South India: Pondicherry: Karikal, Coll. P.S. Nathan  ; 2 exs. India: South India: Tamil Nadu: Coimbatore , 1400 Ft., coll. P.S. Nathan  ; 1 ex., India: South India: Anamalai Hills: Cinchona , 3500 Ft., Coll. P.S. Nathan  ; 2 exs. India: S. Indien: Coimbatore , 1400 ft., IV.68, Coll. P.S. Nathan  ; 1 ex., India: Tamil Nadu: Tranquebar (now Tharangambadi), V.1951, Coll. H. Korge  ; 44 exs. India: Coimbatore: TNAU  ; 1 ex., India: Kerala: Palakkad, Hand picking, 27.XII.2016, coll. M.Divya  ; 2 exs., India: Kerala: Palakkad, Hand picking, 26.XI.2017, coll. M. Divya. 

Description. Length: 15.8 mm; TW: 6.8 mm

Colour: Head, pronotum, humeral spots, elytral median transverse bands, elytral apical band, femur, tibia, reddish yellow; antennal segments 1, 3, 4 with middle reddish yellow and anterior and posterior margin reddish brown, segments 2, 5–11 entirely reddish brown; elytra black; legs with apex of femur with small black spot; underside of head and thorax (including prosternum) entirely reddish yellow; mesosternum and metasternum reddish brown.

Head: Small, stout, smooth, pentagonal; eyes protruding.

Pronotum: Square shaped, anterior and posterior margins straight, lateral margin with apical 2/3 rd convex, basal 1/3 rd straight; disc glabrous with deep puncture marks in basal part, median furrow shallow; lateral beads present, but not prominent.

Elytra: Rectangular, lateral margins subparallel, basal margin straight, humerus pronounced, apical margin straight truncate; humeral spot small, median transverse band broad and rounded with serrated edges, reddish yellow apical band wide, broad, a reddish yellow line running along the lateral sides of the elytra connecting the median transverse band and apical band; striations narrow, intervals flat, broad.

Geographical distribution. INDIA: Tamil Nadu: Coimbatore, Tharangambadi, Anaimalai hills ( Andrewes 1930); Pondicherry: Karaikal ( Andrewes 1930); Kerala: Palakkad (New record); Bengal: Kolkata ( Andrewes 1930); Arunachal Pradesh ( Hrdlička 2017); Himachal Pradesh ( Hrdlička 2017); Kashmir ( Hrdlička 2017); Bengal: Darjil- ing ( Hrdlička 2017); Uttarakhand ( Hrdlička 2017); PAKISTAN: Rawalpindi. Chakwal. Poonch ( Ullah et al. 2017); NEPAL ( Felix et al. 2012); SRI LANKA ( Felix et al. 2012); TAIWAN ( Felix et al. 2012); BHUTAN ( Felix et al. 2012); YEMEN ( Andrewes 1930).

Remarks. Pheropsophus sobrinus  is closely related to P. bimaculatus  but differs by its smaller size, narrower elytra and pronotum, head without black spot, humeral spot very small and wide elytral apical spot.

The specimen based on which Pheropsophus sobrinus  was described by Dejean (1826) has pronotum completely reddish yellow ( Fig. 3 FView FIGURE 3). Specimens with middle of pronotum reddish yellow and anterior and posterior margin black ( Fig. 3 HView FIGURE 3) are also frequent among P. sobrinus ( Felix et al. 2012)  . However, the variants of P. sobrinus  could be misidentified as P. hilaris  when the brief type description of Fabricius (1798) alone is considered without comparing with the type specimen of P. hilaris  (refer the remarks of P.hilaris  and misplacement of type specimens). This error might have lead Chaudoir (1876) to synonymise P. sobrinus  with P. hilaris  . It is this variant character seen in P. sobrinus  along with the non-availability and misplacement of the type series of P. hilaris  that caused subsequent workers ( Arrow 1901, Andrewes 1921a, Felix et al. 2012, Ullah et al. 2017) to misidentify P. sobrinus  as a variant subspecies of P. hilaris ( Fabricius 1798)  . Comparison of the tracked down type series of P.hilaris  at ZMUK (in Fabricius Collection) with the type of P. sobrinus  showed that P. sobrinus  is entirely different from P. hilaris  in having completely reddish yellow head, rectangular, reddish yellow pronontal marking covering the lateral margins, convex pronotal disc, narrower and subparallel elytra with prominent squared humerus, very minute humeral spot (absent in many cases) and broad, yellow elytral apical band. Hence the species status of P. sobrinus ( Dejean 1826)  is reinstated.


Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle














Pheropsophus sobrinus

Venugopal, Akhil S. & Thomas, Sabu K. 2019

Pheropsophus desbordesi Maindron, 1899: 16

Andrewes, H. E. 1930: 273
Bedel, L. 1914: 310
Maindron, M. 1905: 95
Arrow, G. J. 1901: 202
Maindron, M. 1899: 16

Brachinus sobrinus

Hrdlicka, J. 2017: 480
Ullah, M. & Naeem, M. & Mahmood, K. & Rafi, M. A. 2017: 180
Felix, R. F. F. L. & Farkac, J. & Suleiman, A. S. 2012: 77
Andrewes, H. E. 1930: 273
Arrow, G. J. 1901: 202
Chaudoir, M. 1876: 25
Dejean, P. F. M. A. 1826: 462