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Stylianos Chatzimanolis and James S. Ashe (1947-2005)
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taxon links Phylogenetic position of group is uncertain[down<--]Xanthopygina Interpreting the tree
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phylogeny from Ashe and Chatzimanolis (2006).
Containing group: Xanthopygina


Sharp (1876) described the first known species of Elmas, E. modesta from Nicaragua, in his new genus Selma Sharp. Later, Bernhauer (1915) described E. strigella from Brazil, also in Selma. Blackwelder (1952) recognized that Selma Sharp 1876 was a junior homonym of Selma Adams 1863, and he proposed the replacement name Elmas Blackwelder 1952. The remainder of the known species of Elmas was described by Ashe and Chatzimanolis (2003). Species of Elmas are Neotropical; they are distributed from Nicaragua to Bolivia, from 20 to 700 meters in wet tropical lowland forests (most specimens from 200 meters or below), except in Bolivia where they have been collected in Yungas forests at 1000 and 1450 meters.


These large black staphylinids are among the most distinctive among the subtribe Xanthopygina. Species of Elmas are medium to large, 11-23 mm in total length, with body uniformly black; body luster in most dull due to very fine and dense punctuation, though a few species have the integument shining between more distant punctures. They may be recognized by the combination of:

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From left to right, left mandible dorsal aspect, right mandible dorsal aspect, labium and maxilla of E. hanleyi.

Labrum of E. hanleyi.

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

The phylogeny above is the strict consensus tree presented in Ashe and Chatzimanolis (2006). This tree included three additional species described since the revision of the genus (Ashe and Chatzimanolis 2003) and excludes E. modesta that is known from only two female specimens.  Elmas is strongly supported as a monophyletic lineage with eight unambiguous synapomorphies, and the tree overall has much better support than the one presented by Ashe and Chatzimanolis (2003).


Ashe, J. S. and S. Chatzimanolis. 2003. A revision of the genus Elmas Blackwelder, 1952 (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Staphylininae: Xanthopygina), with a preliminary reconstructed phylogeny of the species. Scientific Papers of the Natural History Museum of the University of Kansas. 28: 1-41.

Ashe, J. S. and S. Chatzimanolis. 2006. Three new species and new records of Elmas (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Xanthopygina) from south America with reanalysis of the phylogenetic relationships among the species of Elmas. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 99: 19-32.

Bernhauer, M. 1915. Zur Staphyliniden-Fauna von Südamerika Zeitung 76: 291-301.

Blackwelder, R. E. 1952. The Generic names of the beetle family Staphylinidae. United States National Museum Bulletin 200: 1-483.

Sharp, D. 1876. Description of a new genus and some new species of Staphylinidae from Mexico and Central America. Transactions of the Entomological Society of London. 1876: 425-432.

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Elmas hanleyi
Location Costa Rica
Size 14 mm
Copyright © 1997 James S. Ashe (1947-2005)
Scientific Name Elmas gigas
Location Peru
Size 23 mm
Copyright © 1997 James S. Ashe (1947-2005)
About This Page

Development of this page made possible by National Science Foundation PEET grants DEB 95-21755 and DEB 99-78110 to James S. Ashe.

All images on this page copyright © 2003 James S. Ashe.

Stylianos Chatzimanolis
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

James S. Ashe (1947-2005)
University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA

Page: Tree of Life Elmas. Authored by Stylianos Chatzimanolis and James S. Ashe (1947-2005). The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Chatzimanolis, Stylianos and James S. Ashe (1947-2005). 2007. Elmas. Version 07 June 2007 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Elmas/10267/2007.06.07 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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