Monophyly of Euaesthetinae (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae): phylogenetic evidence from adults and larvae, review of austral genera, and new larval descriptions


We develop a morphological dataset for the rove beetle subfamily Euaesthetinae comprising 167 morphological characters (135 adult and 32 larval) scored from 30 terminal taxa including 25 ingroup terminals (from subfamilies Euaesthetinae and Steninae) and five outgroups. Four maximum parsimony analyses using different sets of terminals and character sets were run to test the monophyly of (1) Euaesthetinae, (2) Steninae, (3) Euaesthetinae + Steninae, (4) euaesthetine tribes Austroesthetini, Alzadaesthetini, Euaesthetini, Fenderiini and Stenaesthetini, and (5) the ten currently known austral endemic genera together. Analyses of adult and larval character sets separately and in combination recovered the monophyly of Euaesthetinae, Steninae, and both subfamilies together, with strong support. Analysis of 13 ingroup terminals for which complete data were available suggests that monophyly of Euaesthetinae is supported by 19 synapomorphies (13 adult, six larval), of Steninae by 23 synapomorphies (14 adult, nine larval), and of both subfamilies together by 24 synapomorphies (21 adult, three larval). Within Euaesthetinae, only the tribe Stenaesthetini was recovered as monophyletic based on adult characters, and in no analyses were the ten austral endemic genera recovered as a monophyletic group. Phylogenetic relationships among euaesthetine genera were weakly supported, although analyses including adult characters supported monophyly of Octavius and Protopristus separately, and of Octavius + Protopristus, Austroesthetus + Chilioesthetus and Edaphus + Euaesthetus. Steninae may include a third genus comprising two undescribed species probably possessing a 'stick-capture' method of prey capture, similar to that in Stenus. These two species formed a strongly supported clade recovered as the sister group of Stenus based on adult characters. Diagnoses and a key to adults are provided for the 15 euaesthetine genera currently known from the austral region (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and southern South America). Euaesthetine larvae previously were known only for Euaesthetus, and we describe the larvae of nine more genera and provide the first larval identification key for genera of Euaesthetinae. © 2009 The Royal Entomological Society.

Publication Title

Systematic Entomology