Eur. J. Entomol. 106 (2): 275-301, 2009 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2009.035

Good-bye Scydmaenidae, or why the ant-like stone beetles should become megadiverse Staphylinidae sensu latissimo (Coleoptera)

Vasily V. GREBENNIKOV1,2, Alfred F. NEWTON3
1 Entomology Research Laboratory, Ottawa Plant and Seed Laboratories, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, K.W. Neatby Bldg., 960 Carling Avenue, Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C6, Canada; e-mail: vasily.grebennikov@inspection.gc.ca
2 Entomology Group, Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Erbertstraße 1, 07743 Jena, Germany
3 Field Museum of Natural History, 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago IL 60605-2496, USA; e-mail: anewton@fieldmuseum.org

Ant-like stone beetles (Coleoptera: Scydmaenidae) include more than 4,850 described species in about 90 genera maintained as a separate cosmopolitan family since 1815. Recent authors have hypothesised that Scydmaenidae might be rooted deep inside rove-beetles (Staphylinidae). To test this hypothesis we analysed 206 parsimoniously informative larval and adult morphological characters scored for 38 taxa. Strict consensus topologies from the shortest trees in all 12 analyses consistently placed Scydmaenidae as sister to (Steninae + Euaesthetinae) in a monophyletic Staphylinine Group (with or without Oxyporinae). The single fully resolved and most consistently supported topology maintains a monophyletic Staphylinine Group consisting of Oxyporinae + (Megalopsidiinae + (("Scydmaenidae" + (Steninae + Euaesthetinae)) + (Leptotyphlinae + (Pseudopsinae + (Paederinae + Staphylininae))))); Solierius lacks larval data and is ambiguously placed within the Group. Eight analyses of variably aligned 18S rDNA data for 93 members of Staphylinoidea under parsimony, neighbour-joining and Bayesian approaches were markedly inconsistent, although partly congruent with the Scydmaenidae + (Steninae + Euaesthetinae) hypothesis. Our results strongly suggest that ant-like stone beetles do not form an independent family, but are morphologically modified members of Staphylinidae and, consequently, should be treated as a 32nd recent subfamily within the megadiverse Staphylinidae sensu latissimo. Formal taxonomic acts are: Scydmaeninae Leach, 1815, status novus (= Scydmaenidae Leach, 1815); Scydmaenitae Leach, 1815, status novus (= Scydmaeninae Leach, 1815); Mastigitae Fleming, 1821, status novus (= Mastiginae Fleming, 1821); Hapsomelitae Poinar & Brown, 2004, status novus (= Hapsomelinae Poinar & Brown, 2004). The family Staphylinidae sensu latissimo becomes the largest in Coleoptera and in the whole of the Animal Kingdom, with 55,440 described species (extant plus extinct), thus surpassing Curculionidae with an estimated 51,000 described species.

Keywords: Coleoptera, Staphylinidae sensu latissimo, Staphylinine Group, Scydmaenidae, taxonomy, phylogeny, classification, morphology, larvae, 18S rDNA, parsimony, Bayesian, neighbour joining

Received: May 9, 2008; Accepted: January 7, 2009; Published: May 20, 2009

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