Cactopinus agavensis Atkinson

H. Atkinson, Thomas, 2010, New species and records of Cactopinus Schwarz with a key to species (Coleoptera, Curculionidae, Scolytinae), ZooKeys 56, pp. 17-33: 22-24

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Cactopinus agavensis Atkinson

sp. n.

Cactopinus agavensis Atkinson   ZBK   sp. n. Figs 23-26


This species most resembles Cactopinus hubbardi   . It can be distinguished by the more sulcate elytral declivity with larger marginal teeth, the longer epistomal horns, and the more flattened male frons. The specific epithet is based on the name of the hosts in the genus Agave   .

Male. Color black. Length 1.8-2.1 mm, width 0.7-0.9 mm, length / width 2.45. Epistomal horns long, projecting to middle of prothorax, fused along their length except for the terminal ¼. Frons horizontally concave, flattened laterally with small concave area in center; surface sparsely punctured, mostly without setae. Anterolateral margins of the epistoma with short, downward projecting spine near base of antennal insertion. Antenna elongate, 1.7 times longer than wide, sutures straight. Pronotum with asperities widely separated at anterior margin, most abundant in center; arranged in sharply defined triangular pattern with no asperities or granules in posterolateral portions. Clearly defined summit at posterior margin, strongly elevated into a point, projecting backwards over elytra. Striae not impressed, with deep punctures, separated by less than their own diameter. Interstriae not elevated, about twice as wide as striae; surface irregular, with numerous, fine, confused punctures. Vestiture of recumbent, short, strial setae, with long, ribbon-like interstrial setae, these longer than distance between rows. Declivity weakly sulcate, gradual, slightly acuminate posteriorly. Interstriae 1 and 2 wider on declivity than on disc. Punctures on striae 1 absent beyond declivital base, interstriae 1 and 2 with numerous, small, confused punctures. Interstrial granules on all other declivital interstriae except 1. Interstriae 2 strongly elevated, its granules slightly longer and sharper than those on other interstriae.

Female. 2 wide calluses present on epistoma, frons transversely impressed above. Frons shallowly concave above transverse impression, surface with shallow, large, closely set punctures. A fringe of setae along upper and lateral margins of convavity. Other characters identical to those of males.

Materials examined.

HOLOTYPE (male): "Mexico: Mexico (state), Teotitlán, 2-VI-1982, 2,410 m, leaves Agave atrovirens   , A. Equihua M. // Holotype Cactopinus agavensis   , T.H. Atkinson 2009". ALLOTYPE (female): same data as holotype. The holotype and allotype are deposited in the U.S. National Museum. PARATYPES: Same data as holotype and allotype (11) distributed as follows: USNM-2; TAMU-5; CEAM-4. MEXICO: Mexico (state), Noplatepec, 11-VII-2008, leaves Agave salmiana   , T.H. Atkinson & A. Equihua M. (TAMU-2, FSCA-5, CAS-5, CEAM-4); MEXICO: Guanajuato, Hwy 57, 9.6 km S intersection Hwy 110, 21.19881 N, 100.57501 W, 6-VII-2009, 1,989 m, leaves Agave salmiana   , T.H. Atkinson, THA 902 (TAMU-7, CEAM-6).


This species has been collected on 3 occasions in the central Mexican highlands from the large semi-domesticated agaves used historically for pulque production. These plants reach a very large size with individual leaves reaching a length of 1.5 m or more and armed with strong, recurved spines. The insect is found in dead, mostly dry leaves at the bottom of the rosette. In a healthy plant, the only way to get to these leaves is to basically take the plant apart, something that requires a lot of work and potential loss of blood on the part of would-be collectors. It is more easily collected from rosettes that are dying and beginning to fall apart after blooming, or in the occasional specimen growing on the edge of a terrace or wall such that the lower leaves can be reached. The beetles may enter the leaves from either the top or bottom surface and galleries resemble those described by Wood (1982). Apparently multiple generations may develop in the same dried leaf until it is consumed.