Bog and Skiff Beetles-Myxophaga


In recent years a few families of beetles have been placed in a new suborder, the Myxophaga, by some coleopterists. These beetles had previously been classified in the suborder Polyphaga and many classification systems continue to use this older grouping. However, there are a number of structural differences that make it desirable to form a new suborder. The most notable of these is the presence of sutures, or grooves, between the upper and lower regions of the prothorax -a feature not found in most species of the Polyphaga. The Myxophaga are also equipped with distinctly club-shaped, or claviform, antennae.

These beetles are found in damp or aquatic environments. They feed on gelatinous substances such as algae.

Hydroscaphidae. The members of this family are commonly called skiff beetles, because of their resemblance to small, fast boats. They easily pass unnoticed, however, because they are very tiny-less than %o ^ch in length

-and tan or brown in color. They have shhort wing covers. The tarsus, or foot, has three segments.

Both the adults and the larvae spend their time among the threadlike algae that grow on rocks in running water.

The only species of skiff beetle found in the United States is Hydroscapha natans, which occurs in Arizona, southern Nevada, and southern California. There are at least four other species, whose ranges include southern and central Europe, Madagascar, and Taiwan.

Sphaeriidae. The members of this family are commonly called minute bog beetles. They are tiny oval black insects that live in mud, under stones near the water, in wet moss, and among the roots of plants, particularly where it is damp. They are only about %o inch long.

In the United States there are a few species of the minute bog beetles found in Washington, southern California, and Texas. They are also found in Europe; Sphaerius acaroides, for example, is found in England. There are six known species altogether.


INDEX : Insects   January 11, 2016 02:26:17 PM