Meloidae

Stenodera caucasica, copyright B. G. Mot.

Belongs within: Tenebrionoidea.
Contains: Eletica, Derideini, Nemognathini, Meloinae.

The Meloidae, blister beetles, are a group of soft-bodied beetles whose larvae are often parasitoids on bees. The vernacular name of the group refers to the production by adults of caustic defensive chemicals, cantharidins. The tarsal claws are typically subtended by a ventral blade that may occasionally be reduced to a filiform appendix or ventral tooth adnate to the claw (Pinto & Bologna 2002).

Ontogeny is hypermetamorphic in the subfamilies Nemognathinae and Meloinae with active first-instar larvae (triungulins) seeking a suitable host. Triungulins of Nemognathinae and some Meloinae are phoretic, attaching to hosts visiting flowers in order to be carried to their nest. Larvae have been described for few Eleticinae but those that are known are not hypermetamorphic. Eggs of Eleticinae are laid on shrubby vegetation or under bark where the larvae are probably predators of other insect larvae (Bologna & Di Giulio 2011).

Characters (from Lawrence & Britton 1991): Elongate, moderately convex, soft-bodied beetles, often bicoloured with red or yellow and black or blue, sometimes uniformly red or metallic blue or violet. Body subglabrous or clothed with short, decumbent hairs; head strongly constricted behind eyes to form narrow neck; antenna 11-segmented, filiform or serrate. Prothorax usually narrowed anteriorly, lacking lateral carinae: fore coxae projecting, trochantin exposed; fore coxal cavities open internally and externally. Tarsal formula 5-5-4, tarsal claws pectinate with blade-like process beneath each claw. Abdomen with six ventrites. Larvae of three types: minute, fusiform, well-sclerotised triungulin with long legs; grub-like, ectoparasitic larva, lightly sclerotised, with short legs and hypognathous head: coarctate form with reduced mouth-parts and appendages.

<==Meloidae [Cantharidiae, Horiidae, Lyttidae, Tetraonycidae]
    |--EleticinaeBG11
    |    |--EleticiniBP02
    |    |    |  i. s.: ‘Lytta’ elegantula Péringuey 1909BP02
    |    |    `--EleticaBP02
    |    |--DerideiniBP02
    |    `--Morphozonitini [Ertliini]BP02
    |         |--Afrospasta Bologna 1995BP02
    |         |    `--*A. borana Bologna 1995BP02
    |         |--Ceriselma Borchmann 1942BP02
    |         |    `--*C. methneri Borchmann 1942BP02
    |         |--Steniselma Borchmann 1942BP02
    |         |    `--*S. brunnea Borchmann 1942BP02
    |         `--Morphozonitis Pic 1922 [incl. Ertlia Borchman 1942 non Aurivillius 1907, Ertliana Selander 1964]BP02
    |              |--*M. atripennis Pic 1922BP02
    |              `--*Ertlia’ fasciata Borchmann 1942 [=*Ertliana fasciata]BP02
    `--+--Nemognathinae [Zonitinae]BG11
       |    |  i. s.: PalaestraBP02
       |    |           |--P. eucera Fairm. 1877M86
       |    |           |--P. platycera Fairm. 1880M86
       |    |           |--P. quadrifoveata Fairm. 1880M86
       |    |           |--P. rubripennisM86
       |    |           |--P. rufipennisBG11
       |    |           `--P. rufocincta Fairm. 1880M86
       |    |         SytarobrachysK63
       |    |--Stenodera Eschscholtz 1818BG11, BP02 [incl. Zonitides Abeille de Perrin 1880BP02; Stenoderini]
       |    |    |  i. s.: S. anatolica Frivaldsky 1884BP02
       |    |    |         S. djakonovi Aksentjev 1978BP02
       |    |    |         S. foveicollis (Fairmaire 1897)BP02
       |    |    |         S. oculifera (Abeille de Perrin 1880) [=*Zonitides oculifer]BP02
       |    |    |--S. (Stenodera) caucasica (Pallas 1782)B14, BP02 (see below for synonymy)
       |    |    `--S. (Stenoderina Aksentjev 1988)BP02
       |    |         |--S. (*S.) puncticollis (Chevrolat 1834)BP02, B14 [=Zonitis puncticollisBP02]
       |    |         `--S. (S.) palaestinaB14
       |    `--+--NemognathiniBG11
       |       `--Horiini [Horiales, Horiinae]BP02
       |            |--Cissites Latreille 1804PB02
       |            |--Horia Fabricius 1787BG11, BP02 [incl. Hoplozonitis Blackburn 1892BP02]
       |            |    |--*H. testacea (Fabricius 1871) [=Lymexylon testaceum; incl. H. fabriciana Betrem 1929]BP02
       |            |    |--H. maculata Sweder 1787FS90
       |            |    `--H. mira (Blackburn 1892)LB91, BP02 [=*Hoplozonitis miraBP02]
       |            `--Synhoria Kolbe 1897BP02
       |                 |--*S. cephalotes (Olivier 1792) [=Horia cephalotes]BP02
       |                 |--S. senegalensis (Lap. 1840)BP02
       |                 `--S. testaceaK63
       `--MeloinaeBG11
Meloidae incertae sedis:
  TmesideraC91
    |--T. assimilis Hope 1842M86
    |--T. rubricollis Hope 1842M86
    |--T. rufipennis Westw. 1841M86
    `--T. violacea Hope 1842M86
  Parameloe alatusK63
  Pycnoseus rubrofasciatusK63
  ZonitolyttaK63
  Spastica femoralisK63, B90 [=Lytta femoralisB90]
  Auphalia rugulosaR26
  Oteisa nigraR26
  AustralozonitisH20

Stenodera (Stenodera) caucasica (Pallas 1782)B14, BP02 [=Meloe caucasicaBP02; incl. *S. sexpunctata Eschscholtz 1818BP02]

*Type species of generic name indicated

References

[B90] Beauregard, M. 1890. Notes synonymiques suivantes relativement à quelques espèces de la tribu des vésicants. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France, 6e série 9: ccxii–ccxiii.

[BG11] Bologna, M. A., & A. Di Giulio. 2011. Biological and morphological adaptations in the pre-imaginal phases of the beetle family Meloidae. Atti Academia Nazionale Italiana di Entomologia 59: 141–152.

[BP02] Bologna, M. A., & J. D. Pinto. 2002. The Old World genera of Meloidae (Coleoptera): a key and synopsis. Journal of Natural History 36 (17): 2013–2102.

[B14] Bouchard, P. (ed.) 2014. The Book of Beetles: A lifesize guide to six hundred of nature’s gems. Ivy Press: Lewes (United Kingdom).

[C91] CSIRO. 1991. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers 2nd ed. vol. 1. Melbourne University Press: Carlton (Victoria).

[FS90] Fleutiaux, E., & A. Sallé. 1890. Liste des coléoptères de la Guadeloupe et descriptions d’espèces nouvelles. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France, 6e série 9: 351–484.

[H20] Houston, T. F. 2020. Nesting biology of the Australian solitary bee Paracolletes crassipes Smith (Hymenoptera: Colletidae) accords with that of the Diphaglossinae. Records of the Western Australian Museum 35: 53–62.

[K63] Kaszab, Z. 1963. Merkmale der Adaptation, Spezialisation, Konvergenz, Korrelation und Progression bei den Meloiden (Coleoptera). Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 9 (1–2): 135–175.

[LB91] Lawrence, J. F., & E. B. Britton. 1991. Coleoptera (beetles). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers 2nd ed. vol. 2 pp. 543–683. Melbourne University Press: Carlton (Victoria).

[M86] Masters, G. 1886. Catalogue of the described Coleoptera of Australia. Part IV. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, series 2, 1 (2): 259–380.

[PB02] Pinto, J. D., & M. A. Bologna. 2002. Meloidae Gyllenhal 1810. In: Arnett, R. H., Jr, M. C. Thomas, P. E. Skelley & J. H. Frank (eds) American Beetles vol. 2. Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea pp. 522–529. CRC Press.

[R26] Risso, A. 1826. Histoire naturelle des principales productions de l’Europe méridionale et particulièrement de celles des environs de Nice et des Alpes maritimes vol. 5. F.-G. Levrault: Paris.

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