Study of the South African endemic Quedius sexpunctatus Bernhauer, 1917 revealed a complex of four very similar species, here referred to as the Q. sexpunctatus group, three of them described as new. Although superficially similar to Quedius, members of the Q. sexpunctatus group differ significantly, in some morphological characters, from all other members of that genus, but they do not display any other affiliation within the tribe Staphylinini. To assess the position of these “Quedius” within the system of the tribe, a parsimony-based phylogenetic analysis was conducted using 63 morphological characters for a taxon sample, including 10 species representing the genus Quedius, 24 species of other genera of the subtribe Quediina, 11 species from other subtribes of the tribe Staphylinini, and one species each of the tribes Maorothiini, Platyprosopini, and Arrowinini (altogether 48 terminal taxa). It showed that the Q. sexpunctatus group is a relatively basal lineage of Staphylinini, rather remote from the genus Quedius, and neither the latter, nor the whole subtribe Quediina, is monophyletic. The whole phylogenetic pattern yielded by the analysis, briefly discussed in the article, disagrees with the current conventional classification of the tribe Staphylinini. To translate the newly obtained phylogenetic information into the system, the new genus Afroquedius is proposed to accommodate the Q. sexpunctatus group. Other, more radical taxonomic changes suggested by the analysis are postponed pending a broader and more rigorous study with more extensive coverage of the tribe Staphylinini, for which this article is a stepping stone. A lectotype is designated for Quedius sexpunctatus Bernhauer, the type species of Afroquedius. The key to all known species of Afroquedius is provided.
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Vol. 99 • No. 6