Phoberus ntlenyanae Strümpher, 2019

Strümpher, Werner P. & Scholtz, Clarke H., 2019, A new Phoberus MacLeay species (Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea: Trogidae) from the Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains of southern Africa and the Phoberus caffer species group reviewed, Zootaxa 4674 (5), pp. 551-563 : 553-555

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.4674.5.4

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scientific name

Phoberus ntlenyanae Strümpher

new species

Phoberus ntlenyanae Strümpher , new species

( Figs. 1–4 View FIGURES 1–4 , 19 View FIGURE 19 )

Type series. Holotype: (♂, SANC: SANC-TYPH-02088; SANC-COLS-17189): Lesotho: Thabana Ntlenyana, 29°28’11”S 29°16’09”E, 3424m, 10.x.2010, Pitfall trap, W.P. Strümpher. One paratype: (♂, SAMC): Lesotho: Tha- bana Ntlenyana, 29°28’11”S 29°16’09”E, 3424m, 09.xi.2008, W.P. Strümpher. Twenty paratypes: (1♂, 1♀, BMNH; 1♂, 1♀, SAMC GoogleMaps GoogleMaps GoogleMaps ; 1♂, 1♀, SANC: SANC-COLS-17190 GoogleMaps ; 14 unsexed ( UPSA [preserved in 99% ethanol for future molecular work]): Lesotho: Mokhotlong District, S29°31’6.60” E29°11’12.99”, 3089m, 11.xi.2008, Sheep carcass, W.P. Strümpher. Six paratypes: (1♂, 1♀, MNHN GoogleMaps ; 4 unsexed, UPSA [preserved in 99% ethanol for future molecular work]): Lesotho: near Sani Pass, 29°34’43.12”S 29°16’50.75”E, 2880m, 19.x.2007, Sheep carcass, W.P. Strümpher. One paratype: (♀, TMSA): Lesotho, Maetsila [uncertain spelling, interpreted as Matsaile, 29°49’34”S 28°46’10”E], 2250m, 6.xii.1995, H. Geertsema, LHDA-1098 GoogleMaps GoogleMaps . One paratype: (♀, TMSA): South Africa: Natal [KwaZulu-Na- tal], 75km WSW Estcourt, Cathedral Peak For. Sta. [Forestry Station], 7-31.xii. [19]79, S & J Peck. Three paratypes: (1♂, MZLU: MZLU-COL00008957 , 2 unsexed, MZLU: MZLU-COL00008268 GoogleMaps GoogleMaps ; MZLU-COL00008269 ): S. Afr [ica], Basutoland [= Lesotho], Makheke [= Makheka] Mnts , 10 miles ENE Mokhotlong, 9.iv. [19]51, Swedish South Africa Expedition 1950-1951, Brinck and Rudebeck. GoogleMaps

Type material bears new type labels: HOLOTYPE [or PARATYPE], Phoberus ntlenyanae Strümpher 2019 (printed on white rectangle with red border).

Description of holotype. Colour: Black, with shiny reflection. Size: length 13.1 mm, width (across humeri) 6.8 mm. Head: Clypeus triangular, apical portion deflexed, lateral margins with pointed setae; surface of clypeus and frons punctate, surface between punctures shiny; frons distinctly raised, glabrous dorsally, with rounded setose ridges; antennal scape black, round, with long, dark brown to black setae; pedicel attached to apex of scape; club black, velutinous ( Figs. 1, 2 View FIGURES 1–4 ). Pronotum: Surface coarsely punctate, margins attenuate anteriorly, sides broad and flat, lateral margins irregular, with fringes of dark brown to black setae; discal area raised and round, discal ridges low, broad, median depression shallow, not reaching over entire length of pronotum, and widening posteriorly; pro- notal base with dense fringe of flattened setae; pronotal ridges and tubercles with black setae ( Figs. 1, 2 View FIGURES 1–4 ). Scutellum: Oval , surface smooth, shiny. Elytra: Humeral calli present; lateral margins smooth; sutural margin raised with small, round to slightly elongate tubercles, unevenly spaced, with posterior tuft of setae; even-numbered costae distinct, with large shiny tubercles, widely and irregularly spaced; odd-numbered costae with prominent round, shiny and irregularly spaced tubercles; longitudinal ridges mark intercostal margin; intercostal punctures round to evenly undulating with transverse ridges between them, surface between punctures smooth with shiny reflection; elytral profile convex, attaining maximum height behind middle ( Figs. 1, 2 View FIGURES 1–4 ). Legs: Apex of foretibia bidentate, outer margin with 2 distinct median teeth, inner margin with long, dense black setae, foretibial spur as long as, or slightly longer than, third tarsomere; mesotibia and metatibia with long, dense, black setae, 2 apical spurs on inner margin; tarsomeres ventrally with sparse setae; claws simple, equal ( Fig. 1 View FIGURES 1–4 ). Male genitalia: See Fig. 3 View FIGURES 1–4 .

Variatiability (6♂, 5♀, paratypes). Size: length 11.5–14.0 mm, width (across humeri) 6.2–7.3 mm. Arrangement, number and shape of tubercles on the even- and odd-numbered costae variable between individuals. Colour of setae are generally uniformly, black, but in some individuals the setae can be brown. In some specimens, especially old ones, the posterior tuft of setae on even-numbered costae is completely worn down. Except for the noticeable intersexual differences on the apex of the foretibia (see species group diagnosis), no other differences were observed in the external morphology of males and females.

Differential diagnosis. The new species is morphologically similar to Phoberus caffer (Harold) and P. lilianae (Scholtz) new status, but it can be easily distinguished from the former by the colour of the setae, which is black in P. ntlenyanae new species, and yellow in P. caffer . Furthermore, Phoberus ntlenyanae new species can be distinguished from both by the presence of prominent, round glabrous tubercles on the even-numbered costae of the elytra ( Fig. 1 View FIGURES 1–4 ), whereas the tubercles in the other two species are smaller, approximately of the same height and size, not shiny, and more numerous ( Figs. 9 View FIGURES 9–12 , 15 View FIGURES 15–18 ). Unlike the other two members, P. ntlenyanae new species has a distinctive shiny reflection ( Figs. 1 View FIGURES 1–4 , 9 View FIGURES 9–12 , 15 View FIGURES 15–18 ).

Distribution and habitat. Although additional sampling is needed in the region to delineate its distribution boundaries, this species is probably restricted to the Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains in southern Africa ( Fig. 19 View FIGURE 19 ). Phoberus ntlenyanae new species is recorded from highland grassland in eastern Lesotho and the foothills of the Drakensberg in South Africa ( Mucina & Rutherford 2006). Adults and larvae of this new species can be found underneath carcasses where they feed on the hair and skin. Specimens were also sampled using a composite of chicken livers and pig dung.

Etymology. Noun in the genitive case. The species name refers to the highest mountain in southern Africa, Thabana Ntlenyana, where the holotype specimen was collected.


Agricultural Research Council-Plant Protection Research Institute


Iziko Museums of Cape Town


University of Pretoria


Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle


Transvaal Museum


Lund University













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