Date of this Version
Collagenus dasysternus Ratcliffe and Hardy, new genus and species, is described from eastern Venezuela. We include a revised key to the 26 genera of New World Pentodontini. When the second author (Hardy) first saw this Venezuelan specimen in the Henry Howden collection, he could not readily place it to genus. When the first author (Ratcliffe) received the specimen from Hardy for examination in mid-2003, he was immediately taken with its gestalt similarity with the genus Coscinocephalus Prell that occurs in Arizona and Mexico. Unfortunately, there is only one specimen, but our examination revealed such unique character states that were indicative of a new, undescribed genus and species that we describe it here. We utilize the Phylogenetic Species Concept as outlined by Wheeler and Platnick (2000). This concept defines species as the smallest aggregation of sexual populations diagnosable by a unique combination of character states. Whether this species occurs rarely in nature remains unknown, but the area from which it was collected is readily accessible if someone wanted to make a concerted effort to find additional specimens. During a visit by one of us (Ratcliffe) to the extensive collections of the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Maracay in 1999, similar specimens were not found.