Thursday, January 25, 2024

Eleodes subnitens VS E.madrensis

While visiting one of my local friends, Sarah, I was shown her desert beetle tank, which had a multitude of species (most of which came from Peter at Bugsincyberspace). One beetle in particular caught my eye, because it looked awfully similar to my Eleodes subnitens from Orin McMonigle's old stock. However, the pronotum was much more angular, and overall looked a little off for that species.

Sarah kindly traded me the beetle in question, which appears to be female and since she's WC, could potentially be mated. So I immediately set her up in a well ventilated enclosure with an inch of coco fiber substrate, one third kept moist, the rest bone dry. Offering her dog food as the staple diet, and keeping her at 75-80F °. Fingers crossed she lays some fertile eggs!

Anyways, this got me thinking... and so I sent pictures of Orin's "E.subnitens" stock to darkling beetle taxonomist Andrew Johnston, and lo and behold, this is what he had to say:

"That would be Eleodes madrensis! It co-occurs with subnitens in most places but is pretty unmistakable with that pronotum"

So, it turns out Orin's line has been misidentified all this time, and they are actually Eleodes madrensis (considered a sort of sister species to E.subnitens). Whereas this new beetle that I got from Sarah is truly E.subnitens.

Here's some pictures of the true E.subnitens female:


E.subnitens pronotum; relatively slender, anterior margins highly acute.
Orin's E.madrensis pronotum; more rotund, anterior margins not so acute.
Very interesting update, I really hope this lone E.subnitens female I got from Sarah reproduces, so that I can actually get that species established in culture. And nice to have taxonomist confirmation on what Orin's old line is.

Well, that does it for this post, thanks for reading, hope everyone enjoyed, and I'll see y'all next time! 😉

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