Testudoraea Kirejtshuk,

Lawrence, John F., 2019, Australian Nitidulinae: general review with descriptions of new genera and species (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae), Zootaxa 4657 (2), pp. 261-290: 281-287

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Testudoraea Kirejtshuk


Testudoraea Kirejtshuk 

The genus Testudoraea  was described by Kirejtshuk (1986) based on numerous specimens of T. flava Kirejtshuk, 1986  , from NSW and QLD. In a short note at the end of his third paper on Australian nitidulids (Kirejtshuk 1990) he considered Testudoraea  to be a subgenus of the Chilean genus Perilopsis Reitter, 1875  , noting that the two taxa “differ only in the shape of the pronotum, and also in the nature of the pubescence and punctation”. As a result, Testudoraea flava Kirejtshuk  was renamed Perilopsis (Testudoraea) australis Kirejtshuk, 1990  . In 1996, Kirejtshuk noted the similarity in the habits of the Australian and Chilean Perilopsis  , both of which apparently breed in “flowers” ( P. australis  in the male cones of Araucaria  and P. flava (Reitter)  on Nothofagus  blossoms). A few larval figures of P. australis  were also included but lacked any diagnostic features. A more thorough examination of adults and larvae of these two species suggest that their similarities are far outweighed by their differences. The following list of similarities and differences between Perilopsis  and Testudoraea  is based not only on adults and larvae of Testudoraea flava Kirejtshuk  and Perilopsis flava (Reitter)  , but also on adults of undescribed Testudoraea  species from New Guinea and New Caledonia. Adults of these two genera are similar in their small size, flattened body, pale colouration, explanate sides of pronotum and elytra, and structure of the aedeagus. They differ in the following respects: 1) labrum distinctly emarginate in Testudoraea  ( Fig. 33View FIGURES 31–46), truncate in Perilopsis  ( Fig. 32View FIGURES 31–46); 2) mandibles asymmetrical in Testudoraea  with left retinaculum blunt and right one acute, symmetrical in Perilopsis  with both retinacula acute; 3) elytral vestiture dual in Testudoraea  ( Fig. 23View FIGURES 13–30), single in Perilopsis  ( Fig. 22View FIGURES 13–30); 4) outer apical angle of protibia with two large spines in Testudoraea  ( Fig. 20View FIGURES 13–30), simple in Perilopsis  ( Fig. 21View FIGURES 13–30); 5) outer edges of meso- and metatibiae spinose in Testudoraea  , setose in Perilopsis  ; 6) pretarsal claws dentate in Perilopsis  ( Fig. 21View FIGURES 13–30), not in Testudoraea  ( Fig. 20View FIGURES 13–30); 7) apex of ventrite 5 in male with small median tooth in Perilopsis  ( Fig. 50View FIGURES 47–62), not in Testudoraea  . These differences were never mentioned by Kirejtshuk.

Larvae of T. flava Kirejtshuk  and P. flava (Reitter)  are also somewhat similar in being armed dorsally with fine tubercles and in the type of mandible, which is bidentate with a serrate dorsal lobe and a similar type of prostheca. Differences between these two larval types include: 1) labrum weakly emarginate in Testudoraea  , truncate in Perilopsis  ; 2) dorsal armature in Testudoarea consisting primarily of strongly transverse tubercles, each enclosing a transverse ridge, that in Perilopsis  consisting primarily of smaller, circular to oval tubercles; 3) divided median plate smaller, located near anterior edge of tergum and bearing two pairs of short setae in Testudoraea  ( Fig. 52View FIGURES 47–62), larger, located at middle of tergum and bearing two curved, linear rows of expanded setae in Perilopsis  ( Fig. 51View FIGURES 47–62); 4) lateral abdominal lobes well-developed and subacute and spiracular tubes at least as long as wide in Perilopsis  ( Fig. 54View FIGURES 47–62), lateral lobes short and broadly rounded and spiracular tubes shorter than wide in Testudoraea  ( Fig. 53View FIGURES 47–62).

Although some of the above differences between the two groups may be relatively minor, others represent considerable differences suggesting that the above taxa should be recognized as belonging to two different genera. It is likely that Perilopsis  and Testudoraea  represent a vicariant pair, as is suggested by overall similarity and details of the aedeagus, dorsal punctation and vestiture, but as in the case of Phenolia  (see above), Kirejtshuk underestimated the differences in the two taxa. Considering Testudoraea  as a subgenus merely buried the problem, which could be resolved by a cladistic analysis involving a number of nitiduline genera or a comparative molecular study, neither of which has yet been done. Use of the subgenus in cases where two species look different, but not different enough to represent separate genera, is not good systematic practice unless backed up by more data than was present in this case. Testudoraea Kirejtshuk  is here recognised as a distinct genus, removing the homonymy of T. flava  and Peril- opsis flava (Reitter)  . Perilopsis australis Kirejtshuk  is considered to be an unnecessary replacement name. Species of Testudoraea  , including undescribed taxa from Papua New Guinea, are associated with Araucariaceae  , with both adults and larvae feeding on pollen of Araucaria  and perhaps other members of the family. Perilopsis flava  apparently feed in the catkins of Nothofagus  and do not occur in the same areas of Chile as species of Araucaria  .