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Revision of the intertidal aleocharine genus Pontomalota Casey (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) with a discussion of its phylogenetic relationships

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A systematic revision of the aleocharine genus Pontomalota is presented. Pontomalota is redescribed, and two species are recognized, one of which is described as new (P. terminalia Ahn and Ashe, Type locality-Point Reyes, North Beach, California). P. californica Casey, P. nigriceps Casey, P. luctuosa Casey, and P. bakeri Bernhauer are shown to be color variants of one species and are synonymized under the name P. opaca (LeConte). A key is provided for separation of the known species of Pontomalota, and illustrations of diagnostic features are provided. The geographical body color variation of P. opaca from British Columbia to Baja California is described. In general, the body color of P. opaca varies from black in the north (Canada, Washington to N. California) to light brown in the south (S. California, Baja California) along a more or less continuous dine. Based on mouthpart structure and genitalic structure, as well as narrowly separated mesocoxal cavities and elytra shorter than pronotum, Pontomalota is hypothesized to be more closely related to tribe Phytosini than tribe Athetini. Within the Phytosini, members of Pontomalota are very similar to those of Thinusa Casey in a number of characters.

Affiliations: 1: Snow Entomological Museum, Snow Hall University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045, USA


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