Microsporus obsidianus, copyright Udo Schmidt.

Belongs within: Coleoptera.

The Myxophaga are a group of small, algae-feeding, aquatic or semi-aquatic beetles. Adults respire via a plastron of air trapped by a dense pile of hydrophobic hairs, and contain the wings beneath the elytra by a rolling mechanism. Larvae, where known, possess tracheal gills and pupate within the last larval exuvium. The larval gills are segmented in Torridincolidae and balloon-like in Hydroscaphidae and Microsporus (Grimaldi & Engel 2005). The Mesozoic Schizophoridae and Catiniidae are likely stem-group representatives of the Myxophaga (Grimaldi & Engel 2005).

<==Myxophaga [Microsporoidea, Schizophoroidea, Sphaeriusoidea]
    |  i. s.: Leehermania prorovaLC20
    |    |--Hadeocoleus calusP02
    |    `--Shijingocoleus margacrispus Lin & Mou 1989RJ93
    `--+--Catiniidae [Canitidae]GE05
          |    |--Scaphydra Reichardt 1973H01
          |    |--Yara Reichardt & Hinton 1976H01
          |    `--Hydroscapha LeConte 1874H01
          |         |--H. granulum (Motschulsky 1855)B14
          |         |--H. natans LeConte 1874H01
          |         `--H. redfordiVB21
          `--+--Torridincolidae [Torridincolinae]MW15
             |    |--Torrindicola rhodesicaMW15, GE05
             |    `--+--Satonius stysi Hájek & Fikáček 2008MW15, B14
             |       `--Delevea [Deleveinae]MW15
             `--+--Lepiceridae [Cyathoceridae, Lepicerinae, Lepiceroidea]MW15
                |    |--LepicerusMW15
                |    |    |--L. bufoB14
                |    |    |--L. inaequalis Motschulsky 1855B14
                |    |    `--L. pichinlingueB14
                |    `--Cyathocerus horniG89
                `--Microsporus Kolenati 1846LM87 (see below for synonymy)
                     |--*M. obsidianus Kolenati 1846LM87
                     |--*Sphaerius’ acaroides Waltl 1838LM87
                     |--M. coenensis (Oke 1954)LM87 [=Neosphaerius coenensisLM87, Sphaerius coenensisB70]
                     |--‘Sphaerius’ hispanicusB14
                     |--M. ovensensis (Oke 1954)LM87 [=*Neosphaerius ovensensisLM87, Sphaerius ovensensisB74]
                     `--‘Sphaerius’ spinissimusB14

Microsporus Kolenati 1846LM87 [incl. Neosphaerius Oke 1954LM87, Sphaerius Waltl 1838 (nom. rej.)LM87; Microsporidae, SphaeriusidaeMW15]

*Type species of generic name indicated


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

[B70] Britton, E. B. 1970. Coleoptera (beetles). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers pp. 495–621. Melbourne University Press.

[B74] Britton, E. B. 1974. Coleoptera (beetles). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers. Supplement 1974 pp. 62–89. Melbourne University Press.

[GE05] Grimaldi, D., & M. S. Engel. 2005. Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press: New York.

[G89] Grouvelle, A. 1889. Voyage de M. E. Simon au Venezuela (Décembre 1887–Avril 1888). Coléoptéres, 2e mémoire. Cucujidae, Rhysodidae, Dryopidae, Cyathoceridae, Heteroceridae. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France, 6e série 9: 157–166, pl. 6.

[H01] Hall, W. E. 2001. Hydroscaphidae LeConte, 1874. In: Arnett, R. H., Jr & M. C. Thomas (eds) American Beetles vol. 1. Archostemata, Myxophaga, Adephaga, Polyphaga: Staphyliniformia pp. 27–29. CRC Press: Boca Raton.

[LM87] Lawrence, J. F., B. P. Moore, J. E. Pyke & T. A. Weir. 1987. Zoological Catalogue of Australia vol. 4. Coleoptera: Archostemata, Myxophaga and Adephaga. Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra.

[LC20] Lü, L., C.-Y. Cai, X. Zhang, A. F. Newton, M. K. Thayer & H.-Z. Zhou. 2020. Linking evolutionary mode to palaeoclimate change reveals rapid radiations of staphylinoid beetles in low-energy conditions. Current Zoology 66 (4): 435–444.

[MW15] McKenna, D. D., A. L. Wild, K. Kanda, C. L. Bellamy, R. G. Beutel, M. S. Caterino, C. W. Farnum, D. C. Hawks, M. A. Ivie, M. L. Jameson, R. A. B. Leschen, A. E. Marvaldi, J. V. McHugh, A. F. Newton, J. A. Robertson, M. K. Thayer, M. F. Whiting, J. F. Lawrence, A. Ślipiński, D. R. Maddison & B. D. Farrell. 2015. The beetle tree of life reveals that Coleoptera survived end-Permian mass extinction to diversify during the Cretaceous terrestrial revolution. Systematic Entomology 40 (4): 835–880.

[P02] Ponomarenko, A. G. 2002. Superorder Scarabaeidea Laicharting, 1781. Order Coleoptera Linné, 1758. The beetles. In: Rasnitsyn, A. P., & D. L. J. Quicke (eds) History of Insects pp. 164–176. Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht.

[RJ93] Ross, A. J., & E. A. Jarzembowski. 1993. Arthropoda (Hexapoda; Insecta). In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 363–426. Chapman & Hall: London.

[VM21] Vasilikopoulos, A., M. Balke, S. Kukowka, J. M. Pflug, S. Martin, K. Meusemann, L. Hendrich, C. Mayer, D. R. Maddison, O. Niehuis, R. G. Beutel & B. Misof. 2021. Phylogenomic analyses clarify the pattern of evolution of Adephaga (Coleoptera) and highlight phylogenetic artefacts due to model misspecification and excessive data trimming. Systematic Entomology 46: 991–1018.


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