Penthetria nigerrima (Bellardi)

Fitzgerald, Scott J., 2021, Penthetria Meigen (Diptera: Bibionidae): Revision of the New World species and world catalog, Zootaxa 4926 (4), pp. 451-500: 493

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Penthetria nigerrima (Bellardi)


Penthetria nigerrima (Bellardi)   , 1859

Type Material & Remarks. The type (s) of Penthetria nigerrima   (originally described in Plecia   ) could not be located. The original description states of the type (s): “Collezioni del Museo zoologico di Parigi, di Saussure e Bellardi” (Collections of the Zoological Museum of Paris, Saussure and Bellardi). However, no types could be located at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris (Christophe Daugeron and Emmanuel Delfosse ( MNHN), personal communication, 2019) nor at the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle, Geneva, Switzerland, where the collection of Henri Louis Frederic de Saussure is housed (Emmanuel Toussaint ( MHNG), personal communication, 2019). According to a historical account of Saussure’s travels and collecting in Mexico ( Papavero 1973), Saussure visited Veracruz, Córdoba, Tospán, Orizaba, Puebla, Mexico City, Tampico, and other cities in the interior and returned to Geneva with the specimens. During Bellardi’s work on the “Saggio di Ditterologia Messicana” he apparently had access to about 100 specimens collected by Saussure (and his traveling companion Adrien Louis Jean Francois Sumichrast) and presumably some of these specimens were retained and became part of the Bellardi Collection ( Papavero 1973). Unfortunately, the Bellardi Collection (housed at Museo Regional de Scienze Naturali, Turin, Italy) was inaccessible during the time of this study due to renovations of the museum (Fulvio Giachino ( MRSN), personal communication, 2019, no response in 2020) and it is unclear if any specimens of P. nigerrima   determined by Bellardi exist there.

Hardy (1945) states that the type of P. nigerrima   is in Paris and that the type locality is Orizaba, Mexico. However, this is information given by Bellardi in the original description, and it does not appear that Hardy examined the type of P. nigerrima   as it is not listed under the material he examined (he states that “the writer has studied topotypic specimens”). Due to the fact that Bellardi’s original description is devoid of any useful information and that Hardy did not examine the type, one can only assume that Hardy’s concept of P. nigerrima   is based on the “topotypic specimens” he studied from Orizaba. Unfortunately, there are at least two species of Penthetria   that have been collected in Orizaba. The first is presumably the one illustrated by Hardy (1945) under the name P. nigerrima   (possibly synonymous with P. arizonensis   though the ventromedian lobes in Hardy’s (1945) illustration are more similar to those found in P. neonigrita   ) and the second, found among material at USNM represents P. mexicana   . Two species from the type locality leaves the true identity of P. nigerrima   irreconcilable without a study of the missing type. Considering this, P. nigerrima   is treated as unrecognized (nomen dubium) until the type can be located and studied.

Hardy (1966) listed records of P. nigerrima   from Mexico, Ecuador, and Colombia, and the South American records were repeated in later works by Fitzgerald (2000) and Falaschi et al. (2016). However, until the types can be studied and the true identity of P. nigerrema   revealed, all previous records of this species should be viewed as potentially being based on misidentification and therefore ignored.


Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle


Museum d'Histoire Naturelle


Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History