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Proposed conservation of the name Penthe Newman 1838 (Coleoptera: Tetratomidae: Penthinae) threatened by the discovery of an older available name.

Bouchard, P. and Pollock, D.A. (2009). "Proposed conservation of the name Penthe Newman 1838 (Coleoptera: Tetratomidae: Penthinae) threatened by the discovery of an older available name.", Zootaxa, 1972, pp. 65-68.


Penthe Newman, 1838 includes nine species distributed in China, the Himalayas, Japan, the Oriental Region and North America (Nikitsky, 1998; Young & Pollock, 2002) and is the type genus of the tetratomid subfamily Penthinae Lacordaire, 1859. Like many other obscure members of Tenebrionoidea, Penthe has had an unsettled family placement until recently. Most early authors placed the genus in Tenebrionidae (e.g. Newman, 1838; Melsheimer, 1853). Then, there was a period during which it was most often placed in Melandryidae, either in Melandryini (e.g. LeConte & Horn, 1883), Penthini (Woodruff, 1920), or Tetratomini (e.g. Csiki, 1924). Finally, based on both larval and adult characters, Penthe was placed in Tetratomidae (e.g. Crowson, 1955; Lawrence, 1982; Nikitsky, 1998). Adults and larvae feed on various fungi associated with rotting wood, e.g. Polyporus, Piptoporus, and Fomitopsis (Lawrence, 1991). As mentioned below, the name Penthe has been used uniformly in the various catalogues, checklists and treatments of North American Coleoptera since Newman’s original description in 1838. While reviewing tenebrionid genus-group names in the second and third editions of the Catalogue des coléoptères de la collection de M. le comte Dejean (Dejean, 1834, 1836b) for the fifth volume of the Catalogue of Palearctic Coleoptera (Löbl et al., 2008), the senior author discovered a genus-group name that should be used as valid instead of the currently accepted name Penthe based on the Principle of Priority (ICZN, 1999: Article 23.1). Although new generic names in Dejean’s catalogues were once considered to be nomina nuda because they did not include a description (e.g. Neave, 1939-1940), this is clearly not the case in all situations. In fact, a new genus-group name published before 1931 without a description, but in combination with one or more available species name(s), is available (ICZN, 1999: Article 12.2.5). Several authors (e.g. Spilman, 1973; Silfverberg, 1983, 1984a, b; Alonso-Zarazaga & Lyal, 1999; Bílý & Bellamy, 2002; Bousquet, 2004; Bellamy, 2006) have dealt specifically with the availability of genus-group names proposed for the first time in the catalogues of Dejean (1821, 1833-1836a, 1836b-1837) but this has not been done consistently throughout Coleoptera.

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