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A new exceptional Meligethes of the M. aeneus species-group from Western Alps and an updated key to identification of M. aeneus and allied species (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae: Meligethinae)

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A new Meligethes from Italian Maritime Alps (Piedmont, Cuneo province), member of the M. aeneus species-group, is described as M. salvan sp. n. The new taxon, despite sharing a few important morphological features with members of the M. aeneus species-complex, is very distinct due to a peculiar combination of characters. The systematic position of Meligethes salvan sp. n. is rather problematic, this new species probably representing a true “palaeoendemic relict” of Tertiary origin, as a few other well-known isolated species of different taxonomic groups, endemic to the crystalline Ercinian massifs of the SW Maritime Alps. The new synonymy Meligethes asperrimus Guillebeau, 1897 = Meligethes flavimanus Stephens, 1830 is introduced, while Meligethes gracilis C. Brisout de Barneville, 1863, recently erroneously synonymyzed with M. aeneus (Fabricius, 1775) by a Russian author, is resurrected at a specific rank. A provisional key to the identification of Meligethes aeneus and allied Holarctic species is finally presented.


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