CephaloplectinaeW. Eugene Hall
The subfamily Cephaloplectinae is currently composed of five genera (Cephaloplectus, Eulimulodes, Limulodes, Paralimulodes, Rodwayia) and approximately 37 species. The group is known to occur in North, Central and South America and Australia (Seevers and Dybas, 1943). All known host records associate these small beetles with ants ( Hymenoptera: Formicidae).
'Horse-shoe crab' beetles, a common name used for cephaloplectines (formerly Limulodidae), aptly describes their general form. Characteristics of the group include absence of eyes and hind wings; prothorax large, usually convex, ventrally possessing a 'prosternal lobe' that extends into region of meso/meta-sternum; elytra truncate, usually exposing terminal abdominal segments; antennae clavate, composed of 8 to 10 segments; mesosternum with elevated process between mesocoxae; metasternum extending between mesocoxae.
Distribution records (Seevers and Dybas, 1943; Wilson et al., 1954) include: Cephaloplectus = Neotropical; Limulodes = Neotropical, Nearctic; Paralimulodes = Nearctic, Argentina; Eulimulodes = Mexico; Rodwayia = Australia.
Matthews (1867) described Limulodes, and placed the genus within Ptiliidae. Sharp (1883) described Cephaloplectus and placed the genus within Staphylinidae. Seevers and Dybas (1943) placed Limulodinae (Ptiliidae) and Cephaloplectinae (Staphylinidae) in a new family, Limulodidae, based on morphological analysis. Dybas (1976) continued to support Limulodidae as a separate though closely related family to Ptiliidae, based on adult and larval characters. Crowson (1981) and Lawrence and Newton (1982) suggested placing Limulodidae within Ptiliidae. Recent classifications (Lawrence and Newton,1995; Newton and Thayer,1992) retain Cephaloplectinae (=Limulodinae) as a subfamily within Ptiliidae.
Until a phylogenetic analysis has been completed, the relationship of Cephaloplectinae to other members of Ptiliidae remains unknown. A preliminary analysis of cephaloplectines is currently being conducted.
Crowson, R.A. 1981. The biology of Coleoptera. Academic Press, New York, xii + 802 pp.
Dybas, H.S. 1976. The larval characters of featherwing and limulodid beetles and their family relationships in the Staphylinoidea. Fieldiana 70(3): 29-78.
Lawrence, J.F. and A.F. Newton, Jr. 1995. Families and subfamilies of Coleoptera (with selected genera, notes, references and data on family- group names). In J. Pakaluk and S.A. Slipinski (ed.), Biology, Phylogeny, and Classification of Coleoptera: Papers Celebrating the 80th Birthday of Roy A. Crowson. pp. 779-1006.
Lawrence, J.F. and A. F. Newton, Jr. 1982. Evolution and classification of beetles. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 13: 261-290.
Matthews, A. 1867. Description of a new genus of Trichopterygidae, lately discovered in the United States. Ann. Lyc. Nat. Hist. NY., 8: 406-413.
Newton, A.F., Jr. and M. K. Thayer. 1992. Current classification and family-group names in Staphyliniformia (Coleoptera). Fieldiana. Zoology. New Series, 67: 1-92.
Seevers, C.H. and H.S. Dybas. 1943. A synopsis of the Limulodidae (Coleoptera): A new family proposed for myrmecophiles of the subfamilies Limulodinae (Ptiliidae) and Cephaloplectinae (Staphylinidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 36: 546-586.
Sharp, D. 1883. Subfamily Cephaloplectinae. In Biologia Centrali-Americana. Insecta. Coleoptera, vol. 1 (2). Taylor and Francis, London. pp. 295-297.
Wilson, E.O., T. Eisner and B.D. Valentine. 1954. The beetle genus Paralimulodes Bruch in North America, with notes on morphology and behaviour (Coleoptera: Limulodidae). Psyche: 154-161.
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Hall, W. Eugene. 1997. Cephaloplectinae. Version 01 January 1997 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Cephaloplectinae/9624/1997.01.01 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/