ChlamydopsisMichael S. Caterino
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Chlamydopsis, with around 70 known species, is the largest genus in the subfamily Chlamydopsinae. Because a significant part of this diversity occurs in the more temperate parts of Australia, near the early population centers, it is also one of the best known. About a third of its species were described in early papers by Arthur Lea and Charles Oke. The morphological diversity within this genus is astounding, and once phylogenetic relationships are better known it may be desireable to split it into multiple genera. Caterino (2003) described the bulk of the known species, and established informal species groups to hold similar, and presumably related species.
Much of what we know about the biology of Chlamydopsinae comes from observations of species of Chlamydopsis. The early Australian naturalists generally found these beetles in situ with their host ants, publishing many host records and interesting biological observations. Species of Chlamydopsis cover a broad range of host ants, living in the colonies of Formicinae, Myrmicinae, Dolichoderinae, and especially Ponerinae (Caterino, 2003). In the last of these subfamilies, one species, Rhytidoponera metallica (Smith) hosts more known Chlamydopsis than any other ant.
Species of Chlamydopsis are difficult to define as a group. All species have some kind of trichome on the front corner of each elytron, and a few have additional trichomes on the sides of the pronotum. In contrast to a large number of genera in the subfamily, the scutellum in species of Chlamydopsis is fully exposed, though this is obviously a plesiomorphic character. Most species have the pronotum at least margined laterally, and in most species it is clearly elevated, on both the sides and the front, making the pronotum appear depressed. Essentially all species have strongly dimorphic antennal clubs, with that of the male appearing very elongate, usually longer than all the other segments (including the large scape) combined.
The most closely related genera, Eucurtia and Ectatommiphila, are each separated from Chlamydopsis by their own unique autapomorphies, and they are not easily separated otherwise. It remains possible that Chlamydopsis is paraphyletic with respect to these.
Caterino, M. S. 2003. New species of Chlamydopsis, with a review and phylogenetic analysis of all known species. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 49:159–235.
- Color images of all species. Supplement to descriptive paper, hosted by M. Caterino and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.
Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Michael S. Caterino at
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- First online 15 July 2007
- Content changed 15 July 2007
Citing this page:
Caterino, Michael S. 2007. Chlamydopsis http://tolweb.org/Chlamydopsis/9259/2007.07.15 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/. Version 15 July 2007 (under construction).