Classification, natural history, and evolution of the genus Aphelocerus Kirsch (Coleoptera, Cleridae, Clerinae). Bulletin of the AMNH ; no. 293

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New York, NY : American Museum of Natural History
The genus Aphelocerus is redefined to include 66 species as follows: A. leucomelas (Chevrolat); A. coalitus, n.sp.; A. echinatus, n.sp.; A. affaniatis, n.sp.; A. delicatulus (Barr); A. aeneus, n.sp.; A. bispineus, n.sp.; A. extensivus, n.sp.; A. primigenious, n.sp.; A. ciliaris, n.sp.; A. acuticolis, n.sp.; A. citimus, n.sp.; A. sturnus Kirsh; A. acanthus, n.sp.; A. inconstans (Gorham); A. cirritus, n.sp.; A. patulus, n.sp.; A. chiriqui, n.sp.; A. sculptilus, n.sp.; A. sabulosus, n.sp.; A. chondrus, n.sp.; A. cohibilis, n.sp.; A. irroratus, n.sp.; A. immarginatus (Chevrolat); A. acutus, n.sp.; A. torosus, n.sp.; A. olanchoensis, n.sp.; A. vietus, n.sp.; A. turnbowi, n.sp.; A. cornuatus, n.sp.; A. humerus, n.sp.; A. domus, n.sp.; A. capillus, n.sp.; A. coactus, n.sp.; A. scalenus, n.sp.; A. yungas, n.sp.; A. extensivus, n.sp.; A. lividus, n.sp.; A. nitidus, n.sp.; A. sagittarius, n.sp.; A. triangulus, n.sp.; A. batesi, n.sp.; A. ebenus, n.sp.; A. catie, n.sp.; A. monteverde, n.sp.; A. arenatus, n.sp.; A. bufustis, n.sp.; A. anticus, n.sp.; A. naevius, n.sp.; A. protenus, n.sp.; A. argus, n.sp.; A. panus, n.sp.; A. hespenheidei, n.sp.; A. collaris, n.sp.; A. dispilis, n.sp.; A. formicoides, n.sp.; A. akis, n.sp.; A. chelonus, n.sp.; A. cheliferous, n.sp.; A. scutellaris (Chevrolat); A. improcerus, n.sp.; A. propinquus, n.sp.; A. calvus, n.sp.; A. myrmecoides, n.sp.; A. inbatus, n.sp.; A. eriodes, new species, and A. discapillus, new species. Lectotypes have been designated for A. inconstans, A. leucomelas, A. nitidus, and A. immarginatus, and for the junior synonyms Clerus laevigatus Spinola, C. mollifascia Chevrolat (new synonymy), C. subfasciatus (Chevrolat), and C. cyaneus (Chevrolat) (new synonymy, new combination; transferred from Enoclerus Gahan). Aside from the conventional subject categories of generic revisions, this work also includes a translation of the abstract into Spanish, a treatise about natural history, discussions of species groups and troublesome key couplets, and evolutionary considerations involving phylogeny and zoogeography. There are 28 habitus illustrations, 239 line drawings, 29 distribution maps, 9 maps depicting the distribution of the major New World clerofauna, 13 electron micrographs, 5 photographs, 1 phylogenetic tree generated by the Hennig 86 computer program, a table involving character analysis, and a table depicting the geographical distribution of the apheloceran species groups. Members of the genus Aphelocerus are thought to be involved in a mimetic complex that also includes species of ants, buprestids, and chrysomelid beetles, weevils, and spiders. These checkered beetles have been observed to scurry on broad-leafed herbaceous plants, and particularly along leaf stems, often in the company of black ants of approximately the same size. A few have been observed foraging on a variety of tree canopy blossoms, although it is not known whether the clerids were consuming anthophilic insects or taking nourishment from flower products such as nectar or pollen. Specimens have been collected throughout the year; however, most were captured from May to July, at elevations ranging from 97 to 3000 m. The "beating sheet" method of collecting seems to be the most productive manner of gathering these beetles, although specimens have been collected with an aspirator while the insect was scurrying on foliage or bark (fig. 1b). Other collecting techniques that yielded specimens include the use of sweep nets, light traps, and Malaise traps. A few specimens were aspirated from flowers of forest trees. It is postulated that the initial division of ancestral Aphelocerus occurred on the current land mass geologically formed by the union of the Mexican/Mayan blocks. The evolution of the group probably began some time after the major Caribbean tectonic events had taken place. The relative paucity of structural diversity among the extant members of the genus suggests a recent evolution for the group or strong selection to resemble a common model for mimicry. The available evidence indicates that there have been three major evolutionary trends among the extant species of Aphelocerus. The first involves the progressive increase of elytral convexityamong the mimetic species of the genus, i.e., mimicry of ants, spiders, and Myrmex weevils. The second trend involves the development of white secondary (28) setae on the elytra, and third, the consolidation of these setae into white setal patches on various organs of the integument. The prominent association of checkered beetles with temperate and tropical montane regions suggests that checkered beetles, in general, occur in seven New World geographical areas, each of which is illustrated: North America, Middle America, South America, Mexo America, Central America, nuclear Central America, and insular Central America.
128 p. : ill. (4 col.), maps ; 26 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 117-119).