Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

FNZ 59 - Erotylinae (Insecta: Coleoptera: Cucujoidea: Erotylidae) - Popular summary

Skelley, PE; Leschen, RAB 2007. Erotylinae (Insecta: Coleoptera: Cucujoidea: Erotylidae): taxonomy and biogeography. Fauna of New Zealand 59, 59 pages.
( ISSN 0111-5383 (print), ; no. 59. ISBN 978-0-478-09391-9 (print) ). Published 07 Sep 2007

Popular summary

The subfamily Erotylinae in New Zealand consists of 8 species placed in 2 genera: Kuschelengis, a new genus described for the single species K. politus, and Cryptodacne, consisting of 7 species, 2 of which are described as new.

As a family, the Erotylidae is difficult to diagnose, but can be distinguished from most New Zealand beetles by the combination of the following characters: glandular ducts present throughout the body, but most notable at the corners of the prothorax, mesocoxal cavities closed by lateral extensions of the metaventrite, elytral epipleura complete and extending to apex, abdominal ventrites equal in length to each other, aedeagus with a laterally compressed median lobe, and usually 2 (or 1) elongate and narrow penile struts.

Members of Erotylinae can be easily separated from other New Zealand erotylids by having the procoxal cavities completely closed by lateral extensions of the prosternal process. They also tend to have more convex bodies that are larger in size than other New Zealand erotylids. The subfamily Erotylinae is a relatively small group in New Zealand considering that nearby Australia has 50 species.

All species are placed in the tribe Dacnini, which is relatively widespread in Australasia and the Holarctic. The genus Cryptodacne is endemic to New Zealand, while Kuschelengis is present in New Caledonia where there may be up to 10 undescribed species. Most specimens are collected from rotten wood and leaf litter, and, like all Erotylinae, the New Zealand species are strictly fungus feeding. Fungus host records are few but indicate that species feed on large-bodied polypore or bracket fungi.

A biogeographic analysis of Cryptodacne shows that C. rangiauria speciated relatively recently after arriving at the Chatham Islands via dispersal, and this is consistent with data from other organisms.