Phanaeus (Notiophanaeus) melibaeus Blanchard, 1843

Gillett, Conrad P. D. T., Gillett, P. T., E. D. T, James & Vaz-de-Mello, Fernando Z., 2010, Diversity and distribution of the scarab beetle tribe Phanaeini in the northern states of the Brazilian Northeast (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae), Insecta Mundi 2010 (118), pp. 1-19: 10-11

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Phanaeus (Notiophanaeus) melibaeus Blanchard, 1843


Phanaeus (Notiophanaeus) melibaeus Blanchard, 1843  

Figure 12 and 13 View Figure 7-13

Collection data. Maranhão: Santa Quiteria de Maranhão, Fazenda Rodiador , 42 o 40’46"W   ; 03 o 24’50"S, 47 m open area with palm trees, overnight dung trap, 18. v. 2008: 1 m; idem, open cerrado area, overnight dung trap 06. 1. 2010: 1f. NEW STATE GENUS AND SPECIES RECORDS   .

Bahia: 150 km W Barreiras, dung trap, i. 2002, P. Schmidt: 1m (FVMC). NEW STATE RECORD.

* Sulcophanaeus faunus   was recorded from Bahia by Arnaud (2002).

** Recorded as Coprophanaeus jasius   by Hernández (2003).

*** Recorded as Coprophanaeus jasius   by Silva et al. (2007) and Filgueiras et al. (2009).

**** Recorded as Coprophanaeus jasius   by Lopes et al. (2006).

***** Recorded as Coprophanaeus (Metallophanaeus)   sp. 1 by Costa et al. (2009); identification confirmed by F.Z. Vaz-de-Mello.

Results. 2008 data: 1 specimen; 1 male. Bait preference (2008 data): Dung (1). Temporal distribution (all data): January (2), May (1).

Distribution. This very rarely recorded species is known from a few scattered localities on the periphery of the southern Amazon basin in the Brazilian states of Goiás, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia and Minas Gerais ( Edmonds 1994; Pessôa 1934) as well as from Bolivia ( Olsoufieff 1924; Edmonds 1994; Spector 2002; Vulinec et al 2003). The current records from MA and BA represent an enormous range extension of more than 1000 km to the north and east of the nearest published record, taking its range beyond the Amazon basin. We are also aware of its presence in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais (700 km south of the BA record).

Remarks. Phanaeus melibaeus   appears to be a rare species in the study area. The two specimens collected in MA on separate occasions were attracted to human dung-baited pitfall traps. The species appears to be crepuscular or nocturnal because the two MA specimens were collected in the morning after overnight trapping sessions. A related species in the same species group, P. haroldi Kirsch   , is also crepuscular or nocturnal in Ecuador (C. Gillett personal observation). The habitat for the species in MA ( Figure 4 View Figure 2-6 ) can be considered a cerrado biotope and consists of the edge of an open grassland with low bushes, originally covered in palm trees. Edmonds (1994) cites the species as being coprophagous, whilst also indicating that due to its scarcity, it may prove to have an unusual ecology. The male specimen from MA is less brightly colored than the specimen illustrated by Arnaud (2002a), although the female agrees in color; the specimen from BA has very dark blue pronotum and elytra, contrary to those from Minas Gerais and Mato Grosso, which tend to have a bright golden-copper pronotum and emerald green elytra.

The only other species of Phanaeus   recorded to date from the NE is P. (Notiophanaeus) splendidulus Fabricius   , a typical species of the Brazilian Atlantic forest and known only from Bahia in the NE region ( Edmonds 1994; Arnaud 2002a) and elsewhere from southern Brazil and northern Argentina.


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