Taxonomic and phylogenetic studies of West Indian lycidae (Insecta, Coleoptera, Elateroidea)

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Agriculture


The Thonalmini and Leptolycini are two tribes of Net-winged beetles (Insecta, Coleoptera, Lycidae) endemic to the West Indies. Both tribes are characterized by their confusing taxonomic history and poorly known biology and evolutionary patterns, and the study of both groups is the topic of this dissertation. One of the chapters of this dissertation provides a taxonomic revision of the genus Thonalmus Bourgeois, 1883, the sole member of the tribe Thonalmini. In this study, I provide an updated taxonomic revision of the group, illustration of diagnostic characters, an identification key, distribution maps, updates in the nomenclature of the group and description of seven new species. I also provide the first species level phylogenetic hypotheses for Thonalmus (morphology, molecular based and total evidence), biogeographical dispersal patterns hypotheses, a time-calibrated phylogeny and character state reconstruction for the species of the genus. The other chapter of this dissertation investigates the different life- stages of the Leptolycini of the Puerto Rican bank. The morphology of the Leptolycini males conforms with other groups suspected to be paedomorphic, whilst the females are unknown and suspected to be completely larviform. In this chapter, I provided for the first time DNA barcoding life stages associations based on partial sequences of cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) of adult males and their immature forms from Puerto Rico, altogether with collections- based associations of adult males, immatures and one extreme paedomorphic female from the Virgin Islands. In order to carry out these life-stage associations, I prepared an in-depth review of the Leptolycini fauna of the Puerto Rican bank (Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands), which is also presented in this chapter. This study provided the morphological diagnoses of the semaphoronts that were found in the region and several taxonomic and nomenclatural changes are proposed, including the descriptions of one new genus and seven new species and an updated key for all species and genera of the region.




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