Minute hooded beetles, Minute fungus beetles, Hooded beetlesJoseph V. McHugh, James A. Robertson, and Adam Slipinski
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Corylophidae is a small, cosmopolitan family including 285 species and 27 genera divided between 2 subfamilies, Corylophinae LeConte, 1852, and Periptyctinae Ślipiński et al., 2001. The group is commonly known as the Minute Hooded Beetles due to their diminutive size and the tendency for the pronotum to be enlarged anteriorly into a broad shelf-like projection that conceals the head from dorsal view.
Corylophidae includes some of the smallest known insects. Adults are usually 0.5 to 2.5 mm long; however, some species of Periptyctinae can reach 3.5 mm. The body form ranges from hemispherical (e.g., Cleidostethus) to elongate oval (e.g., Clypastraea) to latridiid-like (e.g., Foadia). Corylophids are typically dull brown, but some species have contrasting yellowish-brown patches on the pronotum or elytra. The integument is often densely punctured and may be glabrous or bear short, fine recumbent setae. Most corylophid adults can be diagnosed using the following morphological features:
- Maxilla with single apical lobe
- Mesotrochanter short and strongly oblique
- Head usually covered by pronotum
- Frontoclypeal suture absent
- Antennae elongate with 3-segmented club
- Procoxal cavities closed externally
- Tarsal formula 4-4-4
- Pygidium exposed
Corylophid larvae vary greatly in general body form. Most are spindle-shaped (fusiform), but some are broadly oval and strongly flattened (i.e., onisciform), while others (Periptyctinae) may be broad anteriorly and taper posteriorly. Most corylophid larvae can be diagnosed with the following characters:
- One or two stemmata
- Antennal insertion broadly separated from the mandibular articulation
- Presence of paired dorsal or dorsolateral gland openings on abdominal segments 1-7, 1 and 8, or 2 and 8
Corylophids are microphagous fungivores as larvae and adults, feeding on fungal spores and hyphae. A broad range of fungi are utilized, but the majority of known hosts belong to Ascomycetes and Deuteromycetes (Ślipiński et al. 2010). Corylophids are typically encountered in habitats where molds and other fungi are common (e.g., under bark, in decaying plant matter, etc.). Some corylophids are specialists on Basidiomycetes.
Most corylophids are thought to be free living. Cleidostethus meliponae, however, is a highly specialized inquiline of stingless bees in Africa (Arrow 1929, 1930). Some corylophids have been found in bird nests (Scott 1917). Others have been associated with scale insects (Paulian 1950). In each case, the corylophids are probably feeding on some type of fungus that occurs with the associated organism.
Many aspects of corylophid anatomy and biology are undoubtedly linked with the miniaturization that has occurred in this group. One species of Holopsis has its head modified into an elongate beak that can be inserted into individual spore tubes of polypore fungi to feed on basidiospores lining the tubes (Lawrence 1989). In a detailed anatomical study of Sericoderis lateralis, Polilov and Beutel (2009) observed many exoskeletal modifications that seem to be associated with miniaturization, including a fusion of some thoracic structures, loss of some joints, and a reduction in the number of tarsomeres and antennal segments.
(see Ślipiński et al. 2010)
The subfamily Periptyctinae occurs only in eastern Australia. Corylophinae is represented in all major biogeographic regions. A few corylophine genera are cosmopolitan.
Redtenbacher (1849) and LeConte (1852) recognized that corylophids formed a distinct group when they were still classified as part of Coccinellidae. Matthews (1888, 1899) first diagnosed this group as a family and established some of the internal classification by erecting five tribes. Noteworthy revisions of the internal classification were made by Paulian (1950), Pakaluk (1985 a–c), Pakaluk and Lawrence (1986) and Bowestead (1999). Hyplathrinus was moved from Latridiidae to Corylophidae by Pakaluk and Lawrence (1986). Periptyctus was transferred from Endomychidae into Corylophidae by Ślipiński et al. (2001). Bowestead et al. (2001) transferred Cleidostethus into the family from Coccinellidae. Ślipiński et al. (2009) described two new genera, provided adult and larval generic keys and diagnoses, and revised the classification based on a cladistic analysis of adult and larval morphology. The resulting scheme divides Corylophidae into two subfamilies, Periptyctinae and Corylophinae, and splits Corylophinae into ten tribes.
Classification (based on Ślipiński et al., 2009)
Corylophidae is generally accepted as a monophyletic group (Ślipiński and Pakaluk 1991, Bowestead 1999, Robertson et al. 2008, Ślipiński et al. 2009). Sharp and Muir (1912) first recognized the cucujoid affinities of the family in their study of coleopteran aedeagi. Crowson (1955) placed Corylophidae into the Cerylonid Series (“CS”), a derived clade of Cucujoidea that currently also includes Cerylonidae, Bothrideridae, Latridiidae, Alexiidae, Endomychidae, Coccinellidae, and Discolomatidae.
Although recent molecular phylogenetic studies (Hunt et al. 2007; Robertson et al. 2008) support the placement of Corylophidae within the Cerylonid Series and as the sister taxon to part of Endomychidae, the more specific relationships of the family remain unclear. Hunt et al. (2007) recovered a sister group relationship between Corylophidae and the endomychid subfamily Merophysiinae (as “Holoparamecinae”). In an analysis with a more extensive sampling of CS taxa, Robertson et al. (2008) recovered a clade comprising Corylophidae and the endomychid subfamily Anamorphinae. Both molecular phylogenetic studies suggest that Corylophidae is part of a larger CS clade that includes Coccinellidae and Endomychidae. Latridiidae, whose members resemble Foadiini and Aenigmaticini, was resolved within that corylophid-coccinellid-endomychid clade by Hunt et al. (2007); however, Robertson et al. (2008) recovered Latridiidae in another major clade of CS taxa.
In a phylogenetic study of the internal relationships of Corylophidae, Ślipiński et al. (2009) recovered Periptyctinae and Corylophinae as monophyletic groups. The elongate, latridiid-like corylophids, however, formed two distinct clades (Foadiini and Aenigmaticini) which were separated by the Cleidostethus clade. The tribe Aenigmaticini forms the sister taxon to a poorly resolved cluster of more derived corylophines, including Peltinodini, Sericoderini, Orthoperini, Parmulini, Corylophini, Teplini, and Rypobiini.
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We thank all members of the McHugh lab for their assistance with this project. We especially thank Floyd W. Shockley for providing assistance with the TreeGrow program. Support for the construction of this page was provided by an NSF AToL grant EF-0531665 to M.F. Whiting (subcontract to J.V. McHugh) and through an NSF PEET grant (DEB-0329115) to J.V. McHugh, M.F. Whiting, and K.B. Miller.
Joseph V. McHugh
University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA
Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Joseph V. McHugh at , James A. Robertson at , and Adam Slipinski at
Page copyright © 2011 Joseph V. McHugh, , and
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- First online 09 February 2010
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Citing this page:
McHugh, Joseph V., James A. Robertson, and Adam Slipinski. 2010. Corylophidae. Minute hooded beetles, Minute fungus beetles, Hooded beetles. Version 09 February 2010. http://tolweb.org/Corylophidae/9171/2010.02.09 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/