Epirinus muellerae Deschodt & Davis, 2019

Deschodt, Christian M., Davis, Adrian L. V. & Daniel, Gimo M., 2019, The endemic Southern African genus Epirinus Dejean, 1833 (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) revisited: five new species and two new synonyms, Zootaxa 4603 (2), pp. 327-340 : 332-333

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Epirinus muellerae Deschodt & Davis

new species

Epirinus muellerae Deschodt & Davis , new species

Figs. 1A View FIGURE 1 , 3C View FIGURE 3 , 5 View FIGURE 5 .

Type material: Holotype. Male : LESOTHO | Thaba Tseka | 22.11.1997; R Müller ( TMSA) . Paratypes. 3 males and 4 females with same label as holotype. All specimens with single additional determination label: EPIRINUS | striatus | Scholtz & Howden | det. C.A.Medina 2002 ( TMSA) . 3 males and 6 females: SANI PASS, DRAKENSBERG | KWAZULU/NATAL, 2800 m | 29°35’ S 29°17’ E | 14–15.I.1997, | SCHOLTZ & NORDSTROM ( UPSA) GoogleMaps . 1 male and 1 female: LESOTHO | Katse | (3 km SW of) | alt 2300 m | 22.I.1991 | H. Geertsema | LHDA-0010 and second specimen same except LHDA ♂ ( TMSA) . 1 male: LESOTHO | Laitsoka Pass | alt. 2650m | 3.X.1991 | H. Geertsema | LHDA-416 ( TMSA) .

Description of the holotype, male. Body: 9.7 x 5.8 mm (length with head extended x maximum width) Medium sized and somewhat convex. Head: Clypeal teeth small, pointing upwards and separated by a rounded indentation more than twice their length; frontal suture clearly effaced medially; clypeal surface densely and irregularly punctate, punctures touching giving rugose appearance, no associated setae; eyes narrowing posteriorly; antennae dark.

Pronotum: Surface shagreened with sparsely irregularly placed short black setae, densely punctate with round punctures, punctures almost touching; shallow, medial, basal depression terminating in a puncture-free line that extends over one-third the length of the pronotal disc anteriorly; no lateral foveae.

Elytra: Striae distinct and punctate with clear double margins; interstriae with small granules, single recurved brown setae on some granules; setae arranged in a single row on sutural interval and in double rows from second interval becoming more irregular after fifth interval.

Pygidium: Shagreened, with small punctures, short irregular black setae present.

Venter: Ventrites very finely setose with single irregular row of punctures; metaventrite punctures irregular in size and shape; mesoventrite rugose.

Male genitalia: Asymmetrical ( Fig. 3C View FIGURE 3 ).

Etymology: This new species is named in honour of Ruth Müller (TMSA), long-time curator at the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History, and who collected half of the type series.

Diagnosis: This species is very similar to E. striatus Scholtz & Howden, 1987 . However, E. muellerae new species can be readily separated by it having a median basal depression on the pronotal disc which is absent in E. striatus .

Remarks: Males with slightly more sinuous hind legs than females.

Distribution, ecology, conservation status, and potential threats: This species occurs in the highlands of Lesotho with a range that may extend onto the eastern escarpment of South Africa, although observations are lacking. It is centred on the Drakensberg Grassland bioregion in the Grassland biome. Although the protection of grassland is limited in Lesotho, there is little anthropic development across its known extent of occurrence, which is about 2000 km 2. Therefore, it is assessed as least concern (LC).


Transvaal Museum


University of Pretoria