With about 250 species, the genus Blaps Fabricius, 1775 is one of the most diverse genera of darkling beetles (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae: Tenebrioninae: Blaptini: Blaptina). In this study, we provide new insights on the evolutionary relationships of Blaps species using a combined molecular and morphological dataset encompassing 69 distinct Blaps species and subspecies (105 specimens in total, all belonging to the subgenus Blaps), four other representatives of the tribe Blaptini (from the subtribes Gnaptorina, Gnaptorinina and Prosodina) and 12 outgroup species. Five new species of Blaps are also described within the subgenus Blaps: B. effeminata sp. nov. from Libya, B. intermedia sp. nov. from Morocco, B. maldesi sp. nov. from Algeria, B. nitiduloides sp. nov. from Algeria and Tunisia and B. teocchii sp. nov. from Tunisia. The results of the phylogenetic analyses indicate that the genus Blaps is likely paraphyletic; the two highlighted clades are morphologically distinct and correspond to groups previously referred to as sections (I and II) within the subgenus Blaps. This suggests the need for more phylogenetic studies in order to clarify the status of the various genera and subgenera belonging to the tribe Blaptini.
Blaps, molecular phylogenetics, morphology, taxonomy, Tenebrionidae.