Camptodes Erichson, 1843

Lawrence, John F. & Kirejtshuk, Alexander G., 2019, Review of the Australian Cyllodini (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae: Nitidulinae), with descriptions of new taxa, and notes on the genus Macleayania (Nitidulini), Zootaxa 4544 (3), pp. 301-334 : 305-306

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Camptodes Erichson, 1843


Camptodes Erichson, 1843

Camptodes Erichson 1843: 321 . Type species: Sphaeridium scutellatum Sturm, 1826.

Notes. In addition to characters given in the above key, the genus Camptodes is also chacterised by the widely lobed tarsomeres 1–3, arcuately convergent antennal grooves, more or less shortened elytra with rounded apices and male genital capsule completely invaginated into abdomen.

This Neotropical genus is not native to Australia, but is represented here by at least one introduced species, which feeds as larvae on the succulent stems of Opuntia cacti, also introduced. Based on the Camptodes specimens available to us, collected from 1962 to 1999, the current distribution of the genus in Australia is from an area about 1000 km from north to south, roughly from Rockhampton, QLD to Muswellbrook, NSW (21°33’ to 32°05’ S), and 500 km from east to west, roughly from Emerald, QLD and Lightning Ridge, NSW to the Toowoomba area (147°58’ to 152°19’ E). Although the introduction of Opuntia cacti into Australia began as early as 1788 and involved a number of different species, it is most likely that the introduced Camptodes arrived with the numerous shipments of Opuntia containing eggs and larvae of Cactoblastis cactorum ( Lepidoptera : Pyralidae ) sent to Australia beginning in 1925. The first specimens of Cactoblastis were collected as larvae in northwestern Argentina (Concordia, Entre Rios) from Opuntia delaetiana and O. monacantha and transported to Buenos Aires, where the emerging adults laid eggs subsequently placed on large quantities of Opuntia of the monacantha group and shipped to Australia in large wooden cases. These specimens were stored in Brisbane and at the Chinchilla Field Station, the latter of which is in the centre of the current Camptodes distribution ( Dodd 1940). The fact that the shipments continued until 1935 and involved large quantities of rotting cacti suggests that this could be the source of the introduced Camptodes in Australia.

There are two distinct forms of Camptodes in Australia, one ( Figs 3, 8 View FIGURES 1–11 ) entirely black and the other ( Figs 1, 7 View FIGURES 1–11 ) black with a pair of large, red, irregularly quadrangular maculae extending from the humeri to the lateral edges of the scutellar shield. Their aedeagi are quite similar and the two usually occur together (several of the series included below contain both bicoloured and unicoloured specimens). We have concluded that a single species is involved, but further collecting in remnant patches of Opuntia might clarify this problem. Because of the large number of species of Camptodes described from South America, the identification of the introduced species is made more difficult. One of authors of this paper (AK) examined the female type of Strongylus humeralis Brullé, 1842 from Argentina “la province de Corrientes ” ( Brulle 1842: 67) which is at least closely related to the introduced Australian species. Reitter (1876) described nine different varieties of Camptodes vittatus Erichson collected by Davis from a single locality (Cordoba, as Cordova, Argentina) and deposited in the collection of Dohrn (MIZW); two of these (lugubris and humerosus) are very similar to the unicoloured and bicoloured forms from Australia. Whether or not these are all varieties of C. vittatus is beyond the scope of this study, but it does seem likely that a highly variable species of Camptodes occurs in the area from which the shipments of Opuntia and Cactoblastis originated. Since C. humeralis (Brullé) is the oldest name for described Camptodes from this region, we consider the introduced Australian species to be at least close to this species.












Camptodes Erichson, 1843

Lawrence, John F. & Kirejtshuk, Alexander G. 2019


Erichson, W. F. 1843: 321