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News Article | January 21, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

Lying among hundreds of beetle specimens in museum collections across Australia was a treasure trove of unidentified weevils, including as many as 24 new species, according to a new study. Most of the beetles were collected almost 30 years ago, but they remained unnamed until Alexander Riedel, a curator at the State Museum of Natural History Karlsruhe, and Rene Tänzler, a biologist at the Zoological State Collection in Munich, both in Germany, started cataloging them and stumbled across 24 new species that have now been added to the weevil genus Trigonopterus. All of the newly described weevils are restricted to small areas of tropical rainforests along the east coast of northern Queensland, Australia. Part of the reason for their isolation may be their lack of wings, which has prevented them from spreading, the researchers said. The new beetle species are also easily overlooked because they live on fallen leaves and dead wood, feeding on leaf litter, bits of palm fronds and other rainforest plants, basically recycling plant material, the scientists added. [Image Gallery: Shimmering Metallic Beetles] "There are millions of species on our planet with whom we co-exist," Riedel told Live Science. "What's most exciting for me is to make a few of these new forms of life visible to others as well. And, of course, this has practical implications for national parks and so on, because if you realize that there are lots of species endemic to the region, then there is special value in protecting it." Still, it is not unusual to discover this many new weevil species in Australia, Rolf Oberprieler, an entomologist at the National Research Collections in Canberra, Australia, who was not involved in the new study, told Live Science in an email. There are hundreds more beetle specimens in the Australian National Insect Collection, and Oberprieler estimates that the real number of beetle species in Australia may be more than 20,000 — five times as many as have been cataloged. Tropical rainforests are known for their high biodiversity, and many contain species that are unknown and not yet named by scientists. Insects, and especially beetles, make up a large proportion of this undiscovered life on Earth, Riedel said. He has been cataloging Trigonopterus beetles from rainforests across Australia, Indonesia and New Guinea. It is likely that Trigonopterus weevils originated in Australia because it is the oldest landmass in the region, Riedel said. This is why putting a name and face to as many of the beetles in the area as possible is important to the study of their evolution. However, the process of studying and cataloging Trigonopterus weevils is difficult. "They are small, and they all look the same!" said Chris Reid, an entomologist at the Australian Museum in Sydney who studies a different genus of weevil and was not involved in the new research. "Normally, they are folded up very tightly and pretend to be seeds, and are very hard to dissect." Riedel and his colleagues had to depend on both dissection and DNA sequencing to name the new species. But there are many more beetle specimens that they had to omit because either the morphology was too similar or the researchers did not get the opportunity to sequence the beetle's DNA yet. The researchers hope that their study will spur additional fieldwork needed to arrive at a more comprehensive understanding of the Australian Trigonopterus fauna and their evolution. The findings were published today (Jan. 21) in the open-access journal ZooKeys. High-resolution photographs of each species, along with its scientific description, also will be uploaded to the Species-ID website, the researchers said. Copyright 2016 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Robertson J.A.,University of Arizona | Robertson J.A.,University of Georgia | Slipinski A.,Australian National Insect Collection | Moulton M.,Brigham Young University | And 9 more authors.
Systematic Entomology | Year: 2015

A large-scale phylogenetic study is presented for Cucujoidea (Coleoptera), a diverse superfamily of beetles that historically has been taxonomically difficult. This study is the most comprehensive analysis of cucujoid taxa to date, with DNA sequence data sampled from eight genes (four nuclear, four mitochondrial) for 384 coleopteran taxa, including exemplars of 35 (of 37) families and 289 genera of Cucujoidea. Maximum-likelihood analyses of these data present many significant relationships, some proposed previously and some novel. Tenebrionoidea and Lymexyloidea are recovered together and Cleroidea forms the sister group to this clade. Chrysomeloidea and Curculionoidea are recovered as sister taxa and this clade (Phytophaga) forms the sister group to the core Cucujoidea (Cucujoidea s.n.). The nitidulid series is recovered as the earliest-diverging core cucujoid lineage, although the earliest divergences among core Cucujoidea are only weakly supported. The cerylonid series (CS) is recovered as monophyletic and is supported as a major Cucujiform clade, sister group to the remaining superfamilies of Cucujiformia. Currently recognized taxa that were not recovered as monophyletic include Cucujoidea, Endomychidae, Cerylonidae and Bothrideridae. Biphyllidae and Byturidae were recovered in Cleroidea. The remaining Cucujoidea were recovered in two disparate major clades: one comprising the nitidulid series + erotylid series + Boganiidae and Hobartiidae + cucujid series, and the other comprising the cerylonid series. Propalticidae are recovered within Laemophloeidae. The cerylonid series includes two major clades, the bothriderid group and the coccinellid group. Akalyptoischiidae are recovered as a separate clade from Latridiidae. Eupsilobiinae are recovered as the sister taxon to Coccinellidae. In light of these findings, many formal changes to cucujiform beetle classification are proposed. Biphyllidae and Byturidae are transferred to Cleroidea. The cerylonid series is formally recognized as a new superfamily, Coccinelloidea stat.n. Current subfamilies elevated (or re-elevated) to family status include: Murmidiidae stat.n., Teredidae stat.n., Euxestidae stat.n., Anamorphidae stat.rev., Eupsilobiidae stat.n., and Mycetaeidae stat.n. The following taxa are redefined and characterized: Cleroidea s.n., Cucujoidea s.n., Cerylonidae s.n., Bothrideridae s.n., Endomychidae s.n. A new subfamily, Cyclotominae stat.n., is described. Stenotarsinae syn.n. is formally subsumed within a new concept of Endomychinae s.n. © 2015 The Royal Entomological Society.

Escalona H.E.,Australian National Insect Collection | Escalona H.E.,Central University of Venezuela | Lawrence J.F.,Australian National Insect Collection | Wanat M.,Wrocław University | Slipinski A.,Australian National Insect Collection
Systematic Entomology | Year: 2015

A phylogeny of the cucujoid family Boganiidae (Coleoptera) is inferred for the first time based on a parsimony analysis of 102 morphological characters (70 adult and 32 larval). The analysis resulted in a monophyletic Boganiidae divided into two main clades, Boganiinae and Paracucujinae, each supported by a series of synapomorphies. The Boganiinae genera recovered were Afroboganium Endrödy-Younga & Crowson and Boganium Sen Gupta & Crowson, whereas Paracucujinae includes Paracucujus Sen Gupta & Crowson, Metacucujus Endrödy-Younga & Crowson, Athertonium Crowson and the New Caledonian Dzumacium caledonicum gen.n., sp.n. New specimen data and biological information for the Australian taxa are summarized with overviews on biogeography and comments on the fossil Jurassic Parandrexis Martynov (Parandrexidae). Two new species of Boganium, primarily from the Australian mallee are described: B. malleense sp.n. and B. medioflavum sp.n. Boganium malleense is recorded from flowers of Eucalyptus gracilis F. (Myrtaceae). Adults and larvae of Paracucujus rostratus Sen Gupta & Crowson are redescribed. Athertonium parvum Crowson is redescribed and Athertonium williamsi sp.n. is described from coastal New South Wales. Several host records for Athertonium are also presented. © 2015 The Royal Entomological Society.

Nakahara S.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | O'Donnell C.A.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Mound L.A.,Australian National Insect Collection
Zootaxa | Year: 2015

Heliothrips similis sp.n. is described as a close relative of the greenhouse thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis. This is the third species recognized here in the Neotropical genus Heliothrips. A pest species described from South Africa as Helio-thrips sylvanus is transferred to a new genus, Neoheliothrips gen.n., as Neoheliothrips sylvanus (Faure) comb.n. Copyright © 2015 Magnolia Press.

Szawaryn K.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Bocak L.,Palacky University | Slipinski A.,Australian National Insect Collection | Escalona H.E.,Australian National Insect Collection | Tomaszewska W.,Polish Academy of Sciences
Systematic Entomology | Year: 2015

Phytophagous ladybird beetles of the tribe Epilachnini are a cosmopolitan, species-rich group of significant economic importance as pests of agricultural crops. The tribe is well characterized morphologically and clearly monophyletic, but very little is known about its internal phylogenetic relationships and their genus-level taxonomy. In order to infer the evolutionary history of Epilachnini, test its monophyly and provide a phylogeny-based classification, we assembled a comprehensive dataset, consisting of four DNA markers (18S and 28S rRNA and 16S, COI mtDNA) and a matrix of 104 morphological characters for 153 species of Epilachnini representing all previously recognised genera, ~11% of the known species, and 14 outgroup taxa. Molecular, morphological and combined datasets were analysed using maximum likelihood, parsimony and Bayesian inference. Bayes factors and Approximately Unbiased tests (AU) were used to compare alternative phylogenetic hypotheses of unconstrained and backbone-constrained analysis. Only 14 of the 25 included genera were recovered monophyletic, as originally defined. Afidentula Kapur, Afidenta Dieke, Afissula Kapur, Epilachna Chevrolat, Henosepilachna Li Toxotoma Weise and Mada Mulsant are shown to be poly- or paraphyletic; Chnootriba Chevrolat, Subafissa Bielawski, Lalokia Szawaryn & Tomaszewska and Papuaepilachna Szawaryn & Tomaszewska form monophyletic groups within larger clades of genus level. All of these genera are redefined here. The two largest genera of Epilachnini, Epilachna Chevrolat and Henosepilachna Li were represented by multiple monophyletic clades, which we described as new genera: Chazeauiana Tomaszewska & Szawaryn gen.n.; Diekeana Tomaszewska & Szawaryn gen.n.; Fuerschia Tomaszewska & Szawaryn gen.n. and Ryszardia Tomaszewska & Szawaryn gen.n. The following new synonyms are proposed: Afissa Dieke (=Afissula Kapur); Henosepilachna Li in Li & Cook (=Subafissa Bielawski); Papuaepilachna Szawaryn & Tomaszewska (=Lalokia Szawaryn & Tomaszewska). © 2015 The Royal Entomological Society.

Paretas-Martinez J.,University of Barcelona | Forshage M.,Swedish Museum of Natural History | Buffington M.,Smithsonian Institution | Fisher N.,Australian National Insect Collection | And 2 more authors.
Australian Journal of Entomology | Year: 2013

An overview of all families, subfamilies, genera and species of Cynipoidea present in Australia is presented. The Australian cynipoid fauna is very poorly known, with 37 genera recorded: one each for Austrocynipidae, Ibaliidae and Liopteridae; two for Cynipidae; and 32 for Figitidae. The first Australian records are given for the following genera of Eucoilinae: Aganaspis Lin, Areaspis Lin, Chrestosema Förster, Didyctium Riley, Endecameris Yoshimoto, Ganaspis Förster, Leptolamina Yoshimoto, Micreriodes Yoshimoto, Pseudodiranchis Yoshimoto, Sinochresta Lin and Weldia Yoshimoto. Nine new combinations, two new synonymies and one reinstatement are made: Eucoilinae (Figitidae): Hexacola aemilia comb. n., Hexacola florentia comb. n., Hexacola julia comb. n., Hexacola mozarti comb. n., Hexacola thoreauini comb. n., Kleidotoma marguerita comb. n., Leptopilina lonchaeae comb. n., Leptopilina maria comb. n., Trybliographa australiensis stat. rev. (Rhoptromeris unimaculus syn. n.); Thrasorinae (Figitidae): Thrasorus berlesi comb. n. (Thrasorus rieki Paretas-Martínez & Pujade-Villar 2011 syn. n.). Aspects on the systematics, distribution, biology and morphology of all cynipoid families and figitid subfamilies in Australia are given. A multi-character online key to the genera of Australian Cynipoidea can be found at http://www.ces.csiro.au/keys/Hymenoptera/Australian_Cynipoidea/Australian-Cynipoidea-Keys.html. © 2012 Australian Entomological Society.

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