One less Pterostichus for Montana

My recent trip to Bozeman, MT wasn’t entirely fun and games. Well, it was entirely fun (Thanks, Mike!), but not all games. One objective was to collection samples of the various forms of Pterostichus (Hypherpes) protractus, the species of Hypherpes with the largest known range in the subgenus. This species has a distribution that stretches from just a bit north of Jasper, Alberta, Canada south to the Zuni and Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico, and west to northeastern Sierra Nevada Mountains and southeastern British Columbia.


Hanging out at the Continental Divide with Mike Ivie (MSU). We old guys aren’t good at this selfie thing.

With such a big range and a good deal of morphological variation, is anyone surprised that there are seven synonyms and six of those are T.L. Casey names? The area around Yellowstone was the last locality I needed (two Casey names from there) in my due diligence to sample areas in or near the type localities for all named species and get DNA quality specimens and males from across the entire range.

Part of my effort involved working in the MSU collection to look for localities. There were plenty of P. protractus records and so it was very easy to pick sites for sampling.


In addition to P. protractus, I expected to see Pterostichus restrictus, based a record of nine specimen records published by Hatch (1933) (in Hatch’s paper as Pterostichus longulus (see Bousquet 2012)). This is a species that I found to be very common in New Mexico and Colorado. But I couldn’t find any specimens in the collection.  Mike helped me search through the old card records and voilà, there were nine records all from around Bozeman.



Specimen identification tracking cards from the MSU collection.

But… they were all really P. protractus. Sorry Montana, no P. restrictus for you. I doubt that P. restrictus ranges north of southern Wyoming. Hatch didn’t identify any specimens as P. protractus, so I suspect he was either unaware of the species or had a different concept in mind.

IMG_0486 cropped

Two of the series of nine P. protractus that were initially identified as P. restrictus.




-Bousquet Y (2012) Catalogue of Geadephaga (Coleoptera, Adephaga) of America, north of Mexico. ZooKeys 1722, 1–1722.

-Hatch MH (1933) Records of Coleoptera from Montana. The Canadian Entomologist 65: 5-15.

About Kip Will

I'm an insect systematist with expertise in carabid beetles, who is always happiest in the bush.
This entry was posted in Carabids, Coleoptera, Entomology, Pterostichines. Bookmark the permalink.

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