Melaenus piger (Fabricius 1801)

Ball, George E. & Shpeley, Danny, 2005, Taxonomic review of the Tribe Melaenini (Coleoptera: Carabidae), with observations on morphological, ecological and chorological evolution, Zootaxa 1099 (1), pp. 1-120: 1-120

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Melaenus piger (Fabricius 1801)


Melaenus piger (Fabricius 1801)  

( Figs. 1A View FIGURE 1 , 5A–G View FIGURE 5 , 7A–K View FIGURE 7 , 8A–D View FIGURE 8 , 10 View FIGURE 10 )

Brachinus piger Fabricius 1801: 219   . TYPE MATERIAL: not seen (the type is in the Zoological Museum , University of Copenhagen Copenhagen, Denmark (Andrewes 1921: 164)).

Melaenus piger Schaum 1847: 49   .—Erichson 1847: 142.—Motschulsky 1855: 42.—Andrewes 1921: 164, 185.—1930: 212.—1935: 28.

Type locality. Eastern India, as recorded in the original description (Fabricius 1801: 219)   .

Recognition. See Fig. 1A View FIGURE 1 and key to melaenine taxa.

Description. With character states of genus Melaenus   , restricted as follows. Habitus as in Fig. 1A View FIGURE 1 . Measurements: see Melaenus   in Tables 3–11, and "Comparisons" below, under M. elegans Dejean.   Male genitalia: phallus, endophallus and parameres as in Figs. 8B–D View FIGURE 8 .

Habitat, habits and seasonal occurrence. This species lives primarily in the tropical deciduous forest/savannah vegetation zone, but also the rain forest zone (Table 17), at altitudes between sea level and 1000 m. Andrewes (1935: 27) recorded specimens to be common in refuse bordering rice fields, and wrote that the beetles fly at night. Erwin (1984: 379) wrote that specimens "are found in disturbed areas, in decaying vegetation." From these statements we infer that members of C. piger   may occupy open areas, rest under cover by day, and are active at night. Based on label data, we infer that the period of maximum adult activity is in June, extending overall from March to December.

Geographical distribution ( Fig. 10 View FIGURE 10 ). This species is known only from Sri Lanka and India, in the western part of the Oriental Region.

Relationships and chorological affinities. This species is the putative adelphotaxon of M. elegans Dejean   , the only other known species of Melaenus   . Their marked structural similarities to one another suggest a very close relationship. They form a vicariant pair with M. piger   restricted to the Indian sub­continent and M. elegans   occurring only on the African continent.

Material examined. We have seen 86 specimens from the following localities, all of which are in the Oriental Region. Included also are records published by Andrewes (1930)   .

INDIA. Andhra Pradesh State: Kurnool ( Andrewes , 1930)   Bombay State: Bandra; Belgausa; "Bombay State"; Igatpuri Nagpur ( Andrewes , 1930)   . Madhya State: Balaghat; Hoshangabad ( Andrewes , 1930); Jabalpur , VI.1906, F. Benton, 1 (USNM); Mhow (Andrewes, 1930)   . Madras State. Bonamalea , VI.1962, P.S. Nathan, 1 (USNM); Karikal, 1 (MRAC); Karikal, VIII.1964, 2 (USNM); Karikal, T.R.S. Nathan (CMNH): VIII.1982, 5; VII.1984, 2; VIII.1986, 3; VII.1987, 1; VII.1988, 2; Kurumbagaram, IX.1951, P.S. Nathan, 33 (UASM); same, VI.1952, 11 (UASM); same, IV.1962, 1 (UASM); Madras; Ootacamund (Andrewes, 1930); Pondicherry, 2 (USNM); same, VII.1963, 2 (USNM); Tinnevelly (Andrewes, 1930); Uppaluru, VI.1962, Biff, 4 (UASM)   . Mysore State: Belgaum, 1927, C.F. Baker, 1 (USNM); same, 2 (OXUM). New   Goa State: Panjim, XII.1924, J.C. Bridwell, 1 (USNM)   . Orissa State: Chatrapur (Andrewes, 1930). State not determined. "Bengal"; Kunavaram ( Andrewes , 1930); "India", 1 (OXUM); "North India", Capt. Boys , 1 (OXUM); "South India", 2 (MRAC); Tabalpun , 1600', X.1957, P.S. Nathan, 3 (USNM); W. W. Jar [sic], Worth, 1 (OXUM)   . SRI LANKA. Anu District: Belaya Wowai, 8ºS, 80º30'E, nr. Padaviya , 150', 4–5.XI.1970, O.S. Flint, Jr., 1 (USNM); Padaviya, 180', 2–8.XI.1970, O.S. Flint, Jr., 1 (USNM); Padaviya, 180', 27.II–9.III.1970, Davis & Rowe, 1 (USNM)   . North Central District: Horouwpotana ( Andrewes , 1930)   .














Melaenus piger (Fabricius 1801)

Ball, George E. & Shpeley, Danny 2005

Melaenus piger

Schaum 1847: 49

Brachinus piger

Fabricius 1801: 219