BuprestoideaCharles L. Bellamy
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The family is world-wide, with species found on all continents including many Pacific islands.
Two of the largest genera, Agrilus (one of the largest genera in the world with nearly 3,000 described spp.) and Chrysobothris, are cosmopolitan; two others, Anthaxia and Acmaeodera found on all continents except Australia; Sphenoptera with more than 1,100 species found only in Palaearctic, Afrotropical and Oriental regions.
Larvae: generally very elongate, head generally small, somewhat retracted into prothorax; antennae small, three segmented; without ocelli; mandibles robust, usually dentate; three segmented thorax lacks leg structures; prothorax swollen laterally, dorsal and ventral sclerotized plates; dorsal plate generally with distinct V- shaped median groove; spiracles prominent, cribriform and mostly crescent-shaped; last abdominal segment with two apical lobes, in subfamily Agrilinae these lobes are sclerotized.
One of the four major lineages, the schizopodines, has sometimes been accorded familial status with the family Schizopododiae first defined by LeConte in 1859. Subsequent authors have either accepted or ignored this status, although the three major buprestid authorities of the last century, Kerremans, Théry and Obenberger retained it as a buprestid tribe in the system of Lacordaire. The most recent revision and attempt to validate family status was by Nelson & Bellamy (1991), where cladistic analysis supported the four major lineages, with the schizopodids and julodines branching outside of the apparent “true” buprestid line. However, the concepts of Holynski did not accept this familial status and most recently Lawrence & Newton (1995) listed this group again as a subfamily, stating that there was no indication of what group, outside of Buprestoidea, the schizopodid or -podine line was related to. This then highlights one of the traditional problems with higher beetle classification and that is the lack of information relating the higher taxa and defined sister-groups. In an interesting 1982 paper on the dryopoid affinities of buprestids, Crowson suggested that a possible candidate for analysing buprestid relationships was the luctrochid genus Lara; indeed these beetles bear a remarkable resemblance to Schizopus in general morphology. This was the out-group used by Nelson & Bellamy, but the lack of defined sister-group still allows conjecture. In fact, in an attempt to provide some modern classication to the entire series Elateriformia, Lawrence (1987) could not provide a clear cut statement of phylogeny at the superfamily level, showing that the results of cladistic analysis indicated that buprestids are probably the sister-group of a monophyletic group comprised of the families Dryopidae, Lutrochidae, Limnichidae, Heteroceridae, Elmidae and Byrrhidae.
The julodines are a large group composed of six genera and many species distributed from the southern Palaearctic and Oriental to the Cape region of South Africa. The largest two genera, Julodis and Sternocera, are found as far west as Pakistan and Southeast Asia, respectively. Interestingly, they are not present on Madagascar. The bodies of these insects a nearly cylindrical, tapering to the posterior end, from about 1 to 7 or 8 cm in length. This group is arguably supported at the family level too.
The remaining two main lineages, the buprestines and agrilines, comprise the majority of buprestid taxa. The buprestines generally have very typical larvae, each with a strongly dorsoventrally flattened thoracic region, a feature that spawned the dubious moniker flat-headed wood-borers. The typical buprestid body is said to be bullet shaped, but that is a distortion since they are mostly flattened dorsoventrally and again tapering towards the rear end. They are very active flyers, especially during the warmth of the day and are quick to escape both predators and collectors. Many species are found feeding on the foliage of their larval host plants and many other species visit flowers to feed and to rendezvous with others looking to exchange gametes. The range of host plants is rather broad and includes many families of gymnosperms and dicot angiosperms. Many species seem to be generalist feeders as larvae, often known to inhabit several plant hosts, sometimes developing in a variety of dead wood. The buprestines are known from every biogeographical region and most every habitat.
The fourth lineage is the agriline line and is comparable in size and taxonomic diversity to the buprestid line and perhaps exceeds it. These beetles are generally smaller, often very small, mostly subcylindrical or flattened and cuneiform or wedge-shaped. The larvae differ significantly in that they lack the proventriculus of the alimentary canal, indicating a very different way of handling the ingested plant material. The larvae also share a modification to the caudal segment, always in one way or another, bilobed, bifurcate and sometimes with this paired terminus sclerotized. The adults are most always collected from the foliage of their host plants and most seem to be very host specific. In fact, within this group, there are some very pronounced coevolutionary trends apparent with entire species-groups utilizing only one genus of host plant. The agrilines are also known from every biogeographical region and most every habitat, with leaf-mining taking precedence over wood-boring forms in the moist tropical areas as the larvae are much less exposed to the threat of fungal infection.
- jewel beetles
- metallic wood-boring beetles
- short-horned wood-boring beetles
Bellamy, C. L. 1985. A catalogue of the higher taxa of the family Buprestidae (Coleoptera). Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 4(15):405-472.
Bellamy, C. L. 1995. A new subtribe for the monotypic Southern African genus Bulis Laporte and Gory (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). Annals of the Transvaal Museum 36(11):171-175.
Bellamy, C. L. 1996. Further consideration of the subtribe Thomassetiina Bellamy: a new species, new records and placement in the contemporary classification (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). Annals of the Transvaal Museum 36:215-222.
Bellamy, C. L. & R. L. Westcott. 1996. The phylogenetic placement of two new genera and species of Buprestidae (Coleoptera) from Mexico. Journal of Natural History 30:229-245.
Bellamy, C. L. & G. A. Williams. 1995. The first Australian Paratrachys (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), with comments on the higher classification of the genus. Invertebrate Taxonomy 9:1265-1276.
Cobos, A. 1980. Ensayo sobre los géneros de la subfamilia Polycestinae (Coleoptera, Buprestidae)(Parte I). EOS, Revista Española de Entomologia 54(1978):15-94.
Crowson, R. 1982. On the dryopoid affinities of Buprestidae. The Coleopterists Bulletin 36(1):22-25.
Holynski, R. 1993. A reassessment of the internal classification of the Buprestidae Leach (Coleoptera). Crystal, series Zoologica, No. 1, pp. 1-42.
Kerremans, C. 1893a. Essai de groupement des Buprestides. Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique 37:94-122, 3 fig
Lawrence, J. F. 1987. Rhinorhipidae, a new beetle family from Australia, with comments on the phylogeny of the Elateriformia. Invertebrate Taxonomy 2:1-53.
Lawrence, J. F. & A. F. Newton, Jr. 1995. Families and subfamilies of Coleoptera (with selected genera, notes, references and data on family-group names), pp. 779-1006. In: Pakaluk, J. & S.A. lipi ski (Eds.). Biology, Phylogeny, and Classification of Coleoptera. Papers Celebrating the 80th Birthday of Roy A. Crowson. Muzeum I Instytut Zoologii PAN, Warszawa.
LeConte, J. L. 1859. Descriptions of some genera and species of Coleoptera from the vicinity of the southern boundary of the United States of America. Arcana Naturae 1:121-128.
Nelson, G. H. & C. L. Bellamy. 1991. A revision and phylogenetic reevaluation of the family Schizopodidae (Coleoptera, Buprestidae). Journal of Natural History 25:985-1026.
Obenberger, J. 1926. Buprestidae 1. In: W. Junk, S. Schlenkling (eds). Coleopterorum Catalogus 84:1-212.
Obenberger, J. 1930. Buprestidae 2. In: W. Junk, S. Schenkling (eds). Coleopterorum Catalogus 111:213-568.
Obenberger, J. 1934a. Buprestidae 3. In: W. Junk, S. Schenkling (eds). Coleopterorum Catalogus 132:569-781.
Obenberger, J. 1934b. Buprestidae 4. In: W. Junk, S. Schenkling (eds). Coleopterorum Catalogus 143:782-934.
Obenberger, J. 1936. Buprestidae 5. In: W. Junk, S. Schenkling (eds). Coleopterorum Catalogus 152:935-1246.
Obenberger, J. 1937. Buprestidae 6. In: W. Junk, S, Schenkling (eds). Coleopterorum Catalogus 157:1247-1714.
Charles L. Bellamy
California Department of Food & Agriculture, Sacramento, California, USA
Page copyright © 1997 Charles Bellamy
All Rights Reserved.
Citing this page:
Bellamy, Charles L. 1997. Buprestoidea. Version 01 January 1997 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Buprestoidea/9082/1997.01.01 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/