Termitodius, Wasmann, 1894

Skelley, Paul E., 2007, Generic limits of the Rhyparini with respect to the genus Termitodius Wasmann, 1894 (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Aphodiinae), Insecta Mundi 2007 (9), pp. 1-9: 2

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Termitodius  ” (sensu lato)

The genus Termitodius  was erected for an unusual beetle found living with termites in Venezuela, T. coronatus Wasmann (1894)  . Later, Hinton (1934) described and illustrated Termitodius peregrinus  , a similar yet quite different beetle. The description of Termitodius esakii Nomura (1943)  from the Caroline Islands followed. Nakane (1961) recognized differences between T. esakii  and Termitodius  from the New World, and erected Termitodiellus Nakane  for T. esakii  . Researchers afterward emphasize general characters and placed additional New and Old World species in Termitodius  . To date, no one has critically examined these species, readdressing generic-level concerns.

Non- Rhyparus  members of the Rhyparini are rare in collections and many taxa are described based on very few specimens. Careful study of original descriptions, illustrations, over 30 Old World specimens (representing 7 species), and 120 New World specimens (representing 5 species) of the genus “ Termitodius  ” (sensu lato) revealed striking differences in tibial development and sexual dimorphism. All Old World members of “ Termitodius  ” have tibial development similar to Termitodiellus  and unlike all New World species. In addition, New World species can be split based on tibial characters, with T. peregrinus  differing from the remaining species.

Makhan (2006) described and illustrated a new genus and new species, Aschnarhyparus soesilae Makhan  , from a single female specimen. Makhan’s descriptions provide no characters that would distinguish his taxa from any other rhyparine. These descriptions clearly indicate he had little knowledge of existing literature, nor was he familiar with the genus Termitodius  . The holotype of A. soesilae  has yet to be deposited in the National Zoological Collection of Suriname at the University of Suriname, as designated by Makhan, and is presently unavailable for study. Careful study of Makhan’s photographs and comparison with materials at hand found no difference between A. soesilae  and T. peregrinus  . Thus, they are here synonymized. However, T. peregrinus  does warrant generic distinction. Given the poor state of Makhan’s description, a new description of Aschnarhyparus  is required, and is provided here. Termitodiellus  and Termitodius  are simply diagnosed and a list of all presently included species is presented.