oa African Entomology - Intergeneric associations of stizopinid tenebrionids relative to their geographical distribution (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae: Opatrini: Stizopina)



All except one species of the southern African stizopinid genus Eremostibes Koch are found in common burrows with different subspecies of Parastizopus armaticeps Peringuey. In the absence of P. armaticeps, they occur with a species of its closest generic relative, Ellllychiatus Koch. Plallostihes namaqua Peringuey occupies this niche outside the range of Eremostibes in the Western Cape Province. The ranges of the associating species show extensive overlap. All species are nocturnal, fossorial detritivores with specific microhabitat requirements, P. armaticeps being subsocial and constructing subterranean foodstores. Eremostibes opacus Koch is an olfactory mimic and cleptoparasite of P. armaticeps in the Kalahari Desert. Evidence that the other associations are not coincidental is presented, and the taxonomic validity of the genera Eremostibes and Plallostibes Mulsant & Rey and the subspecies of Parastizopus is discussed in relation to behavioural, chemical and ecological parameters. Similar associations between freeliving, close generic relatives are unknown in other Coleoptera.


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