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Concept: Polyphaga


The recent development of very high resistance to phosphine in rusty grain beetle, Cryptolestes ferrugineus (Stephens), seriously threatens stored-grain biosecurity. The aim was to characterise this resistance, to develop a rapid bioassay for its diagnosis to support pest management and to document the distribution of resistance in Australia in 2007-2011.

Concepts: Beetle, Distribution of wealth, Beetles, Coccinellidae, Polyphaga, Cucujoidea


Some flying beetles have peculiar functional properties of their elytra, if compared with the vast majority of beetles. A “typical” beetle covers its pterothorax and the abdomen from above with closed elytra and links closed elytra together along the sutural edges. In the open state during flight, the sutural edges diverge much more than by 90°. Several beetles of unrelated taxa spread wings through lateral incisions on the elytra and turn the elytron during opening about 10-12° (Cetoniini, Scarabaeus, Gymnopleurus) or elevate their elytra without partition (Sisyphus, Tragocerus). The number of campaniform sensilla in their elytral sensory field is diminished in comparison with beetles of closely related taxa lacking that incision. Elytra are very short in rove beetles and in long-horn beetles Necydalini. The abundance of sensilla in brachyelytrous long-horn beetles Necydalini does not decrease in comparison with macroelytrous Cerambycinae. The strong reduction of the sensory field was found in brachyelytrous Staphylinidae. Lastly, there are beetles lacking the linkage of the elytra down the sutural edge (stenoelytry). Effects of stenoelytry were also not uniform: Oedemera and flying Meloidae have the normal amount of sensilla with respect to their body size, whereas the sensory field in the stenoelytrous Eulosia bombyliformis is 5-6 times less than in chafers of the same size but with normally linking broad elytra.

Concepts: Normal distribution, Beetle, Elytron, Polyphaga, Aleochara, Rove beetle, Blister beetle, Staphylinidae


Recent adaptive radiations provide striking examples of convergence [1-4], but the predictability of evolution over much deeper timescales is controversial, with a scarcity of ancient clades exhibiting repetitive patterns of phenotypic evolution [5, 6]. Army ants are ecologically dominant arthropod predators of the world’s tropics, with large nomadic colonies housing diverse communities of socially parasitic myrmecophiles [7]. Remarkable among these are many species of rove beetle (Staphylinidae) that exhibit ant-mimicking “myrmecoid” body forms and are behaviorally accepted into their aggressive hosts' societies: emigrating with colonies and inhabiting temporary nest bivouacs, grooming and feeding with workers, but also consuming the brood [8-11]. Here, we demonstrate that myrmecoid rove beetles are strongly polyphyletic, with this adaptive morphological and behavioral syndrome having evolved at least 12 times during the evolution of a single staphylinid subfamily, Aleocharinae. Each independent myrmecoid clade is restricted to one zoogeographic region and highly host specific on a single army ant genus. Dating estimates reveal that myrmecoid clades are separated by substantial phylogenetic distances-as much as 105 million years. All such groups arose in parallel during the Cenozoic, when army ants diversified into modern genera [12] and rose to ecological dominance [13, 14]. This work uncovers a rare example of an ancient system of complex morphological and behavioral convergence, with replicate beetle lineages following a predictable phenotypic trajectory during their parasitic adaptation to host colonies.

Concepts: Evolution, Insect, Beetle, Ant, Polyphaga, Aleochara, Rove beetle, Staphylinidae


Beetles (Coleoptera) are the most diverse and species-rich group of insects, and a robust, time-calibrated phylogeny is fundamental to understanding macroevolutionary processes that underlie their diversity. Here we infer the phylogeny and divergence times of all major lineages of Coleoptera by analyzing 95 protein-coding genes in 373 beetle species, including ~67% of the currently recognized families. The subordinal relationships are strongly supported as Polyphaga (Adephaga (Archostemata, Myxophaga)). The series and superfamilies of Polyphaga are mostly monophyletic. The species-poor Nosodendridae is robustly recovered in a novel position sister to Staphyliniformia, Bostrichiformia, and Cucujiformia. Our divergence time analyses suggest that the crown group of extant beetles occurred ~297 million years ago (Mya) and that ~64% of families originated in the Cretaceous. Most of the herbivorous families experienced a significant increase in diversification rate during the Cretaceous, thus suggesting that the rise of angiosperms in the Cretaceous may have been an ‘evolutionary impetus’ driving the hyperdiversity of herbivorous beetles.

Concepts: Evolution, Biology, Species, Insect, Phylogenetics, Beetle, Beetles, Polyphaga


Billbugs (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Sphenophorus spp.) are a complex of weevil pests affecting turfgrass throughout the United States. Billbug larvae cause damage by feeding in stems, on roots, and on the crowns of turf, causing severe discoloration and eventual plant death. Monitoring efforts have focused on nondestructive pitfall sampling of ground-active billbug adults and on destructive sampling using soil cores for larval stages in the soil. Given the cryptic nature of the susceptible larval stages, billbugs are typically managed by preventive applications of long-residual, systemic insecticides, including neonicotinoids and anthranilic diamides. Despite knowledge of effective management practices including pest-resistant turf varieties, irrigation management, and microbial controls that contribute to an IPM approach, billbug management continues to rely heavily on prophylactic synthetic insecticides. This review will summarize the identification and biology of billbugs and strategies for their management.

Concepts: Life, Insect, Larva, Beetle, Curculionidae, Weevil, Polyphaga, Attelabidae


Foldable wings of insects are the ultimate deployable structures and have attracted the interest of aerospace engineering scientists as well as entomologists. Rove beetles are known to fold their wings in the most sophisticated ways that have right-left asymmetric patterns. However, the specific folding process and the reason for this asymmetry remain unclear. This study reveals how these asymmetric patterns emerge as a result of the folding process of rove beetles. A high-speed camera was used to reveal the details of the wing-folding movement. The results show that these characteristic asymmetrical patterns emerge as a result of simultaneous folding of overlapped wings. The revealed folding mechanisms can achieve not only highly compact wing storage but also immediate deployment. In addition, the right and left crease patterns are interchangeable, and thus each wing internalizes two crease patterns and can be folded in two different ways. This two-way folding gives freedom of choice for the folding direction to a rove beetle. The use of asymmetric patterns and the capability of two-way folding are unique features not found in artificial structures. These features have great potential to extend the design possibilities for all deployable structures, from space structures to articles of daily use.

Concepts: Insect, Beetle, Wing, Insect wing, Polyphaga, Aleochara, Rove beetle, Aerospace engineering


Coleoptera (beetles) is the most species-rich metazoan order, with approximately 380 000 species. To understand how they came to be such a diverse group, we compile a database of global fossil beetle occurrences to study their macroevolutionary history. Our database includes 5553 beetle occurrences from 221 fossil localities. Amber and lacustrine deposits preserve most of the beetle diversity and abundance. All four extant suborders are found in the fossil record, with 69% of all beetle families and 63% of extant beetle families preserved. Considerable focus has been placed on beetle diversification overall, however, for much of their evolutionary history it is the clade Polyphaga that is most responsible for their taxonomic richness. Polyphaga had an increase in diversification rate in the Early Cretaceous, but instead of being due to the radiation of the angiosperms, this was probably due to the first occurrences of beetle-bearing amber deposits in the record. Perhaps, most significant is that polyphagan beetles had a family-level extinction rate of zero for most of their evolutionary history, including across the Cretaceous-Palaeogene boundary. Therefore, focusing on the factors that have inhibited beetle extinction, as opposed to solely studying mechanisms that may promote speciation, should be examined as important determinants of their great diversity today.

Concepts: Evolution, Species, Insect, Fungus, Beetle, Extinction, Dinosaur, Polyphaga


Joe Parker introduces the staphylinids or ‘rove beetles’, the most species-rich groups of insect on Earth.

Concepts: Beetle, Polyphaga, Aleochara, Rove beetle


Termitophiles, symbionts that live in termite nests, include a wide range of morphologically and behaviorally specialized organisms. Complex adaptive mechanisms permit these animals to integrate into societies and to exploit their controlled physical conditions and plentiful resources, as well as to garner protection inside termite nests. An understanding of the early evolution of termitophily is challenging owing to a scarcity of fossil termitophiles, with all known reliable records occurring from the Miocene (approximately 19 million years ago [mya]) [1-6], and an equivocal termitophile belonging to the largely free-living Mesoporini from the mid-Cretaceous [7]. Here we report the oldest, morphologically specialized, and obligate termitophiles from mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber (99 mya). Cretotrichopsenius burmiticus gen. et sp. nov. belongs to Trichopseniini, a group of distinctive termitophilous aleocharine rove beetles, all of which possess specialized swollen or horseshoe-crab-shaped body plans. Cretotrichopsenius display the protective horseshoe-crab-shaped body form typical of many modern termitophiles, with concealed head and antennae and strong posteriorly directed abdominal setae. Cretotrichopsenius represent the earliest definitive termitophiles, shedding light on host associations in the early evolution of termite societies. The fossil reveals that ancient termite societies were quickly invaded by beetles and by multiple independent lineages of social parasites over the subsequent eons.

Concepts: Evolution, Insect, Symbiosis, Beetle, Ant, Termite, Polyphaga, Rove beetle


Anoplophora malasiaca (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) is a serious pest that destroys various landscape and crop trees in Japan. We evaluated the precopulatory responses of three different A. malasiaca populations collected from mandarin orange, willow and blueberry trees. Most of the males accepted mates from within the same host plant population as well as females from the willow and blueberry populations. However, significant number of males from the blueberry and willow populations rejected females from the mandarin orange population immediately after touching them with their antennae. Because all three of the female populations produced contact sex pheromones on their elytra, the females of the mandarin orange population were predicted to possess extra chemicals that repelled the males of the other two populations. β-Elemene was identified as a key component that was only found in mandarin orange-fed females and induced a rejection response in willow-fed males. Our results represent the first example of a female-acquired repellent against conspecific males of different host plant populations, indicating that the host plant greatly affects the female’s sexual attractiveness.

Concepts: Male, Female, Insect, Sex, Beetle, Gamete, Polyphaga, Longhorn beetle