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). Adult Microsporus are minute, strongly convex beetles with clubbed antennae and only three visible abdominal sternites, the first and third of which are long (Britton 1970). 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.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *