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South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Umthamvuna Nature Reserve, Beacon Hill Section (31°00'47"S, 30°10'23"E); on escarpment at the edge of riverine forest, in grassland interspersed with rocky outcrops and boulders.
Holotype ♂: South Africa, KZN, Umthamvuna Reserve, 13.I.2013, ground trap baited with baboon dung, R Perissinotto & L Clennell legit (TMSA). Allotype ♀: same data as above (TMSA). Paratypes, 3♂ 4♀: same data as above (ISAM, PCPR, PMOC). 1 ♀, same locality and collectors, but 24.I.2004 (PMOC); 1 ♀, same locality and collectors, but 28.I.2007 (PMOC).
Gyronotus perissinottoi sp. n. is, with Gyronotus dispar Felsche, 1911, one of the largest Gyronotus species currently known. In contrast to all the other species, including Gyronotus marginatus Péringuey, 1888, currently synonymized with Gyronotus pumilus (Boheman, 1857), the elytra are punctate and the interstriae very marked. Another typical character is the brush of long, flat-laying, yellow setae that cover a narrow area along the middle of the posterior side of the mesofemora in the male. The shape of the parameres is also unique, and closest to that of Gyronotus pumilus (sensu Scholtz and Howden 1987), with parameres flattened laterally and crossing each other.
This species is named after Renzo Perissinotto, who collected the entire type series and compiled the ecological notes reported in this work.
Length 16–18 mm, width 9–10.5 mm; body convex, rounded, shining bronze with metallic reflections, glabrous on the upper side; with few inconspicuous setae on the posterior quarter of elytra in very fresh specimens.
Head. Entirely, densely and finely punctate, except the anterior part of the clypeus which is sparsely and very finely dotted; clypeo-genal suture faint; only short segment of occipital suture present on each side of the head, reaching the extremity of the clypeo-genal suture.
Thorax. Entirely, densely and finely punctate, with punctures finer anteriorly and larger laterally. Lateral angle at middle of sides widely rounded; mesosternum strongly punctate near the suture and in the middle, but finely punctate laterally; metasternum shiny and very finely punctate in the middle part, shagreened and more strongly punctate laterally, with punctures elongated; internal end of male protibia broadened, densely fringed at apex with very short setae, mobile spur short and directed obliquely outwards; female protibia with sharp tooth at the apex of the inner border, mobile spur about twice as long as in the male and directed forward; femora densely punctate; brush of long, flat-laying, yellow setae covering a narrow area along the middle of the posterior side of the mesofemora in male (Figure 1A); brush of setae absent in female (Figure 1B). Elytra. Regularly and strongly convex dorsally, slightly convex laterally; striae obsolete, but densely and strongly punctate, visible with naked eye; interstriae slightly convex, sparsely and finely punctate, with punctures of different size on a very finely shagreened tegument, interspersed with very small, flat and shiny granules.
Abdomen. Sternites smooth, finely punctate medially, stronger laterally; pygidium convex, strongly shagreened, strongly and very densely punctate in females, but sparsely and finely with punctures elongated in males; parameres of aedeagus asymmetrical (Figures 1E–G).
It was previously known that Gyronotus pumilus also occurs in the Umthamvuna Nature Reserve (Davis et al. 2008; pers. observ.). However, the two species occupy different habitats, with Gyronotus pumilus restricted to the riverine forest and Gyronotus perissinottoi to the grassland plateau, outside the forest.
- Moretto, P; Perissinotto, R; 2013: Description and ecology of two new species of Gyronotus van Lansberge, 1874 (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae) from southern Africa ZooKeys, 344: 73-82. doi
- Scholtz C, Howden H (1987) A revision of the African Canthonina (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae). Journal of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa 50: 75-119.
- Davis A, Frolov A, Scholtz C (2008) The African Dung Beetle Genera. Protea Book House, Pretoria, 272 pp.