Thursday, September 24, 2015

A new rove beetle: Awas gigas

The beetle family Staphylinidae, better known as rove beetles, is currently the largest group of beetles known. It contains about 60 000 species in thousands of genera.  Most rove beetles are predators of insects and other kinds of invertebrates, living in forest leaf litter and similar kinds of decaying plant matter. They are also commonly found under stones, and around freshwater and oceanic margins.

Members of the small genus Awas  (six species known so far) are unique in having a conspicuously elongated head, and a relatively small abdomen in contrast to the large body, hence the species name gigas for the new member although the animal with about 5 mm length is anything but a giant.

For the experts: A new distinctive species of the rare Oriental goniacerine genus Awas L√∂bl, A. gigas sp. n., is described and illustrated, based on three males and fourteen females taken at the Daoyao Shan Natural Reserve in the southern Chinese province of Guangxi. All specimens were collected from colonies of the ant genus Pachycondyla F. Smith nesting in decomposing woods.

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