Bambara problematica, Darby, Michael, 2014

Darby, Michael, 2014, Studies of Madagascan Ptiliidae (Coleoptera) 4: The genus Bambara including eight new species and the first account of blindness and aptery in the genus, Zootaxa 3895 (2), pp. 151-169 : 152

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.3895.2.1

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Bambara problematica


Bambara Vuillet 1911 View in CoL

Bambara is a distinctive genus of fragile and weakly chitinised Ptiliidae which, although placed in the Ptiliinae , appears to have no close links with other members of that subfamily or with any other Ptiliid genera. For that reason it is treated here separately.

14 members of the genus have been described to date and a further 8 undescribed species from Sri Lanka are referred to by L. & H. Dybas with numbers ( Dybas & Dybas, 1981); additionally Sörensson notes that Myrmicotrichis subvittata Motschulsky also belongs to the genus ( Sörensson & Johnson, 2004). Of the described species B. suteri ( Dybas, 1966) and B. lutea ( Dybas, 1966) were subsequently synonomised by Johnson with B. brunnea ( Britten, 1926) and B. testacea ( Britten, 1926) respectively ( Johnson, 1985). With the exception of the recent discovery in north-western Germany of the Nearctic B. fusca ( Dybas, 1966) and the pantropical B. contorta ( Dybas, 1966) ( Sörensson & Johnson, 2004) , all species have been reported from tropical and subtropical parts of the world. Although five species have been recorded from the Mascarenes, only three have been from Madagascar itself: dybasi Johnson, 1985 ; frosti ( Dybas, 1966) and testacea ( Britten, 1926) .

Several authors refer to the likelihood that many new species of Bambara remain to be described and Dybas believed that the number could be 'at least a hundred' ( Dybas, 1981). Given this and that Bambara species comprise 53.2% of all the Madagascan Ptiliidae studied to date (3859 of 7255) one might have expected that the number of species present on the island would have been at least as great as Dacrysoma (16 species) or Acrotrichis (32 species) but that appears not to be the case. I have only been able to identify with certainty 8 species in addition to the 3 already known (but it is possible that B. problematica sp. n. may represent a species group).

Although the number of records encourages an assumption that Bambara are the dominant ptiliid species in the ground floor stratum, the distribution of populations appears to be very uneven. Bambara comprise 63% of the 4,705 Ptiliidae recorded from the Ambohitantely reserve, but only 0.9% of the 1003 from Ranomafana, and none at all from Montagne d'Ambre. Furthermore, the spread of some species appears to be very limited, 3 being recorded from one reserve only, whilst others such as problematica sp. n. are more widespread but, surprisingly, without any records from Ambohitantely, the most studied reserve. The following table summarises these findings.

All Ptiliidae Bambara Percentage Species

Ambohitantely 4705 2978 63% merina , secubita Andasibe 274 176 64% opaca , problematica , edwardi , verecunda Ankarafantsika 413 371 89% problematica , secubita , thomasi ? Isalo 349 176 50% problematica

Montagne d'Ambre 166 0 0%

Ranomafana 1003 9 0.9% problematica , secubita , languidulus Vohimana 17 17 100% problematica , thomasi













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