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Fall Fund Drive

Tenebrionids

The current way the Tenebrionids are classified has some subfamilies with just lists of genera and some with generic and tribal names. In some of the subfamilies that use tribal names, there are genera which are shown at the same level that belong in tribes already existing in bugguide. For consistency I think it would be good to make the classification of Tenebrionids reflect the classification in Beetles of America. For example, in Pimeliinae, Edrotes and Triorophus are both Eurymetopini but are shown as distinct from this tribe. If people agree with me, I can quickly indicate the necessary changes.

choice of forum
We're not really discussing a taxonomic proposal here (i.e. we're not debating which beetle authority to use as a taxonomic reference; that was agreed upon long ago). We're discussing how the Guide should be arranged/structured/organized - a topic that is better suited to the Web Site Problems and Suggestions forum.

It's an important distinction because the arrangement of BugGuide is an issue that potentially affects every user, many of whom probably never look in the Taxonomy Proposals forum because they're not familiar with taxonomy.

So I'd like to suggest that future topics about adding/removing tribes, subfamilies, etc. be posted to the Web Site Problems and Suggestions forum. All users should have the opportunity to read and discuss these issues before they're acted upon.

Please compare discussion on Coccinellidae subfamilies
The key question about installing subfamily or tribe levels here is whether this enhances practicability.

If such a group is easily recognizable (e.g. comprises elongate, stout-legged, flightless species), it could be reasonable.
If not so, I would even prefer competely artificial goupings (e.g. "spotted Tenebs") to break down the complexity of a large family within bugguide.

Please check existing tribe levels here for their usefulness (and delete them in case it makes no sense), rather than install additional ones.

proposal
To make the classification match up with Beetles of America, these are the changes. I indicated the tribes that are monogeneric for the US so that it really wouldn’t matter if there was a tribal level designation or not, except for information purposes.

Tentyriinae is a synonym of Pimeliinae so should be deleted and Coelus should be placed under Pimeliinae.

Subfamily Lagriinae
Statria belongs in Lagriini
Paratenetus is in the tribe, Goniaderini

Subfamily Pimeliinae:
Edrotes and Triorophus are in the Eurymetopini.
Eusatti should be changed to Coniontini
Coniontis and Coelus (from Tentyriinae) are in Coniontini
Subfamilies Bolitophaginae and Opatrinae have been sunk into the Tenebrioninae in a paper published after Beetles of America but I think it would be better to leave them here.
The three genera in Bolitophaginae should be transferred to tribe, Bolitophagini (but this is the only tribe in the US)
Nyctoporis is in Nyctoporini (monogeneric)

Subfamily Hypophloeinae is sunk into Diaperinae in a recent paper but it should be kept as to fit with Beetles of America

Subfamily Opatrinae
Ammodonus and Blapstinus should be in a tribe called Opatrini
Opatrinus should be in Platynotini (monogeneric in US)
Leichenum should be in Leichenini (monogeneric in US)
Eleodes, Neobaphion, Trogloderus, and Embaphion should be in Eleodini

Subfamily Tenebrioninae
Helops and Tarpera are in the Helopini
Mercantha is in the Amarygmini
Uloma is in the Ulomini
Tenebrio, Neatus, Idiobates, and Zophobas are in the Tenebrionini
Argoporis is in the Cerenopini
Centronopus and Scotobaneus are in the Centronopini
Tribolium is in the Triboliini
I posted a photo of Eulabis which should go in the Eulabini

Subfamily Alleculinae
as indicated by the Balabans, all one tribe.

Subfamily Coelometopinae
Strongylium is in the Strongyliini (monogeneric in the US)
Rest are in the Coelometopini

Absolutely
With few exceptions, the classification in American Beetles is the BG standard. The problem you note has been brought up before, occurs in other Families, and needs to be fixed. If you wish to sort these out, I'll fix. Hadn't noticed this was getting so bad.

 
One question which always comes up
at this point is "Do we need the Tribes?" So we'll ask it now just to get that discussion out in the open for this group. We don't have a clue what the answer is to that question for Tenebrionids, but just want to make sure we're thinking about it before we add another layer to the taxonomy. Our recollection of the answer for other families of insects when this question arises was that it was based on whether the subfamilies were so large that tribes were needed to make sense of all the genera in them. But if a subfamily only has a half dozen genera in North America, we really don't have to add in the complication of tribes for that subfamily. A subfamily with two dozen genera may very well benefit from the addition of tribes. So we suggest, do what is best for each subfamily, but please don't add in tribes just to say we have them. We can put the tribe information on the Info pages if people like, if that helps to simplify the taxonomy pages.

 
agreed
Many of the Teneb subfamilies already have some tribes - tree - so, do we add more, or delete those already in place? It's a big enough group that we might as well add them for most - especially the Pimeliinae, which is a mess! We're definitely not consistent - the Buprestids aren't even broken into Subfamilies yet, which I'm inclined to think needs to be done. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

 
Yes some examples of both things we mentioned -
Pimeliinae certainly looks like it would benefit from tribes. But Lagriinae only has three genera - why bother with tribes? We would delete Lagriini. Bolitophaginae only has 3 genera - we certainly wouldn't add tribes there. Diaperinae has seven genera, but what advantage is tribes when two of the genera have their own tribes - two of the tribes each hide only one genus. That's another place we would delete the tribes till we get more species. Hypophloeinae is even stranger, it has one genus, but you can't see it because it's hidden by the one tribe. And Alleculinae really is the same, there are seven genera, but they are all in the same tribe.

Except for Pimeliinae, we would suggest putting all the tribe information on some of the info pages. That way it will be available for those who want it, but it won't clutter up the taxonomy tree or confuse things in browse mode.

Again this is the opinion of just two people, two people who use the taxonomy tab a lot. The simpler the taxonomy tree the better it is for us. But as we answered to the Lady beetles - it will be very interesting to see what other folks think.

 
"Just two people"
Two people who have a great deal of experience in getting our type of subject matter across to ordinary, non-scientifically trained, non-hobbyist people. You always help to keep our esoteric discussions grounded in what's likely to work. I always give your opinions in these discussions a great deal of extra weight for that reason.

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