MicromalthidaeDavid R. Maddison
Micromalthus debilis is one of the more amazing beetles, with a very complex life cycle. It lives in rotting wood, and most specimens one finds in the wood are all females, and are larviform, either larvae or are developed enough that they can reproduce but look like larvae. Mature female "larvae" generally give birth to living larvae (without laying eggs); these young larvae are active, and with legs, and are called a "triungulin". A triungulin moults into legless female larva, which can then develop either into (1) a pupa that then emerges as awinged adult, (2) a larviform female that will itself will give birth to triungulins, (3) a larviform female that lays a single male egg that hatched into a larva that eats its mother, (4) a larviform female that can reproduce in both of the latter ways.
Females are diploid, and males are haploid.
Micromalthus debilis, active first instar larva. © 2007 Alex Wild. Dan Young (University of Wisconsin) provided the specimens
Micromalthus debilis, female larvae. © Alex Wild. Specimens provided by Dan Young (University of Wisconsin)
Beutel, R. G. and T. Hoernschemeyer. 2002. Larval morphology and phylogenetic position of Micromalthus debilis LeConte (Coleoptera: Micromalthidae). Systematic Entomology 27(2):169-190.
Philips, T. K. 2001. A record of Micromalthus debilis (Coleoptera: Micromalthidae) from Central America and a discussion of its distribution. Florida Entomologist 84(1):159-160.
Pollock, D. A. and B. B. Normark. 2002. The life cycle of Micromalthus debilis LeConte (1878) (Coleoptera: Archostemata: Micromalthidae): Historical review and evolutionary perspective. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 40(2):105-112.
David R. Maddison
Oregon State University
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- Content changed 27 June 2007
Citing this page:
Maddison, David R. 2007. Micromalthus debilis. Micromalthidae. Version 27 June 2007 (temporary). http://tolweb.org/Micromalthus_debilis/9000/2007.06.27 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/