Tag Archives: Anthribidae

Homoeodera asteris Wollaston

Scrubwood Fungus Beetle (Homoeodera asteris)

The Scrubwood Fungus Beetle was described in 1877; it is, or probably was, endemic to the island of Saint Helena.

The species was apparently associated with the endemic scrubwood (Commidendrum rugosum (Dryand) DC.).:

It is to Mr. P. Whitehead that we are indebted for this addition to the St.-Helena fauna, – the only two examples which I have seen having been captured by him from some bushes of the scrubwood between Sugarloaf and Flagstaff Hill, in the extreme north of the island.” [1]

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The Scrubwood Fungus Beetle was not found during the most recent field searches and might well be extinct.

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877

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edited: 26.05.2021

Homoeodera elateroides Wollaston

Click Beetle-like Fungus Beetle (Homoeodera elateroides)

This species, endemic to the island of Saint Helena, was described in 1877.

The author of the species gives some information about it.:

The H. elateroides is confined to the loftier portions of the central ridge, and is decidedly scarce – though, by repeated visits to its proper habitat, I secured a tolerable supply of examples. They were nearly all of them taken about Diana’s Peak and Actaeon, though I met with a few towards the summit of High Peak.” [1]

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As we see, this species was restricted to the higher mountainous areas of the island, it was already rare in 1965/66 and was not found during the most recent field searches in 2015/06. 

The Click Beetle-like Fungus Beetle may be extinct, despite the fact that the plants that it is/was thought to be associated with, the Saint Helena Tree Fern (Dicksonia arborescens L’Hér.) and the Black-scaled Fern (Diplazium filamentosum (Roxb.) Cronk), appear to be still quite common. [2]

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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edited: 02.12.2018

Valenfriesia rotundata (Wollaston)

Rotund Fungus Beetle (Valenfriesia rotundata)

The Rotund Fungus Beetle was described in 1877; the species was restricted to the island of Saint Helena in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

The species appears to have already been extremely rare when it was discovered.:

The only two examples of this most interesting little Notioxenus which I have yet seen are from the high central ridge, in the immediate vicinity of Actaeon and Diana’s Peak, – the first of them having been captured by Mr. Gray, and the other by myself. It is evidently, therefore, one of the rarest of the St. Helena Coleoptera.” [1]

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The Rotund Fungus Beetle was last recorded in the 1970, when a single specimen was collected in at High Peak, it could not be recorded in recent searches and is thus most likely extinct. [2]

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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edited: 26.05.2021

Valenfriesia congener (Wollaston)

Congeneric Fungus Beetle (Valenfriesia congener)

This species was described in 1877; it is, or rather was, endemic to the island of Saint Helena.

The species appears to have been quite common when it was discovered, however, it was apparently already restricted to the small areas of forest remains in the higher parts of the island.:

My examples (about a dozen in number) of this Notioxenus were taken, in company with the N. rufopictus, on the high central ridge, – in the vicinity of Actaeon and Diana’s Peak.” [1]

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The species was last recorded in the 1970s when six specimens were collected, it was not found during any of the subsequent field searches and is now feared to be extinct. [2] 

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The depiction below shows the closely related Red-spotted Fungus Beetle (Valenfriesia rufopicta (Wollaston)).

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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Red-spotted Fungus Beetle (Valenfriesia rufopicta)

Depiction from: ‘T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877’

(public domain)

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edited: 26.05.2021

Homoeodera nodulipennis Wollaston

Knobbly-winged Fungus Weevil (Homoeodera nodulipennis 

The genus Homoeodera, which is endemic to the island of Saint Helena, currently comprises 14 described and at least one undescribed species.  

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The Knobbly-winged Fungus Weevil is known only from the two specimens, from which the species had been described in 1877.  The species appears to have been closely associated to a single host plant, the Saint Helena Gumwood (Commidendrum robustum ssp. gummiferum (Roxb.) Cronk), which today is likewise extinct. [2]  

See also Thomas Vernon Wollaston in 1877 (Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae).:  

The only two examples of this marvellous little insect which I have yet seen were captured by myself, early in February, at the extreme edge of the tremendous precipice, or crater-wall (constituting the south-western portion of the great central ridge), immediately above West Lodge, – in one of the most exposed and windy spots it is possible to imagine. So difficult indeed was it, on account of the violence of the gale, to examine, even in the most imperfect manner, any thing that presented itself, that I feel almost satisfied that I inadvertently threw several specimens away, mistaking them for the seeds of plants. Nor, indeed, is their prima facie resemblance to seeds, when the limbs are contracted, altogether fanciful; for they at least have as much the appearance, at first sight, of a vegetable substance as of an animal one; and it was more by accident than any thing else that the symmetry of their outline induced me to put a couple of them into my collecting-bottle. They were obtained amongst small and broken-up sticks, I think of the common Gorse; though their close proximity to the shrubs of the Aster gummiferus [Commidendrum robustum ssp. gummiferum (Roxb.) Cronk] (or “Little Bastard Gumwood”), which stud the inaccessible rocks and ledges below, incline me to suspect that the species may in reality belong to the fauna of that interesting but now rapidly disappearing arborescent Composite.

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References:  

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St Helena. 2008  

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edited: 23.03.2018