Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Beetle Taxonomy

I propose using American Beetles - Volume 1 and Volume 2 as a basis for the guide.


1. The Bruchids were retained as a separate family [chapter 121], but this doesn't appear to be generally accepted - rank as subfamily of the Chrysomelidae.

2. Use Kateretidae (Short-winged Flower Beetles) for Brachypteridae.

3. Monommatidae are downgraded to subfamily of Zopheridae


Coleoptera Suborders, superfamilies added
Given the large number of families in coleoptera, I thought it best to put them into groups by suborder and superfamily, according to COLEOPTERA COLLECTION - Beetle Families of the World--which follows American Beetles. This was easy to do, since Phil (?) had already ordered the families according to that list.

I believe families are apportioned correctly, somebody might want to double-check my work:

Coleoptera classification, and especially suborder Polyphaga

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

info being added
I'm adding "info' for the suborders/superfamilies, e.g. Adephaga w/links to Google image search for families not currently in the Guide.

At a quick
At a quick glance it looks OK. Sort of unrelated, but I've noticed that tribes are getting added without fulling assigning all the genera. When I pull up a subfamily, I should see a list of genera or tribes, but not a combination of both, like here. The Carabids also have this 'problem' - I guess I would propose refraining from adding tribes unless there are at least a couple of genera there and if you're willing to fully populate that level.

Missing tribes problem
I think the reason this happens is that somebody starts working on a family, adding subfamilies. It is often easy to place genera into the correct subfamily, because that information is usually on the Internet. Tribe allocation is less commonly given. I've cruised through most of the Tenebrionids, trying to add tribes. I've found a few genera I can't assign, for instance, in the Pimeliinae:

Genus Edrotes
Genus Cryptoglossa - Death-feigning Beetles
Genus Triorophus

Sometimes there is disagreement on subfamily placement of a genus. I don't have American Beetles, so I can't make a judgment based on that. I've been following this site, which seems very thorough.

We need to have some way of marking families, etc. saying that they have been whipped into shape, and to what level. Perhaps this could be put in the Remarks section at the family level? Ideas appreciated.

Please edit this work when you get the chance.

I'll try to work on carabids at some point--most are in Ciegler's South Carolina work.

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

Carabids divided into subfamilies, tribes
Carabidae has been divided into subfamilies, and each subfamily into tribes, and genera allocated to tribes. Order of subfamilies follows Beetles of Florida (below) for eastern groups, other Internet references for a couple of subfamilies (Promecognathinae, Elaphrinae--both seem to be near Carabinae.) I don't have access to American Beetles (1), so I used Internet and print sources that I have handy. Some subfamilies were a little problematic:

Harpalinae is a large one. Most of the tribes are listed in Beetles of Florida, so I followed that as much as possible. It seems to agree with Ciegeler (2) as far as I could tell. I used the order of tribes from that source, but some tribes were not included there, so I put them at the end of the list.

Tiger Beetles, subfamily Cicindelinae, was divided into three tribes:
Tribe Omini
-Genus Omus
-Genus Amblycheila
Tribe Megacephalini
-Genus Megacephala
Tribe Cicindelini
-Genus Cicindela

This classification is used by the Entomology Collection--Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. That was the only list of tribes for the subfamily that I could find that appeared complete.

I've replicated these comments in the Remarks section of Carabidae page. Feel free to alter them or delete them when they are no longer needed.

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

American Beetles should be the new gold standard...
Anyone seriously working on beetles should at least have a copy of volume II, IMHO...

American Beetles, Volumes I (2000) & II (2002).

MQ, Austin

Texas Beetle Info

American Beetles
I have both volumes, and they're amazing- the keys, drawings, everything. They're the culmination of many people's and many years of work.

Tenebrionidae subfamilies
I added Tenebrionidae subfamilies, and filed the genera, based on this Univ. Florida checklist.

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

A Second for using American Beetles
I wholeheartedly agree that American Beetles should be the standard used for beetle taxonomy for the guide. Unfortunately, the darn thing is extremely expensive, but it's absolutely indespensible for working with North American Coleoptera.

I'm still smarting from the splitting of Scarabaeidae sensu latu, but in general I think they've done a good job in incorporating modern concepts of higher beetle relationships into their taxonomic scheme. If I think hard enough (not going to happen this morning), I might be able to come up with some bones to pick with it, but overall, it works well and will be the standard used for the next decade or so.

beetle list on the web
For those who don't have the books, there's an online list that claims "This sequence is followed in the new reference: American Beetles, vols. 1 and 2" - maybe someone who has the books could check the online list for discrepancies?
One "good" discrepancy of the online list is the inclusion of the former Bruchidae as a subfamily (Bruchinae) within Chrysomelidae; Phillip had mentioned that Bruchidae was retained as a family in the book.

The Coleopterists Society maintains an errata webpage for "American Beetles," so I would glance at that periodically and make changes to Bugguide accordingly.

a sample comparison?
I don't have either of the American Beetles books you mentioned; as a sample comparison, what scientific names do they use for the 3 tortoise beetle species listed here?

Only to genera
American Beetles only keys to genus rank - much along the lines of the older Arnett volume. I am suggesting these volumes for Family, Subfamily and Genus arrangement.

I see no particular problem with your suggestion, but - Catalog of Leaf Beetles of America North of Mexico might be better, because it should be easier to come by (includes searchable CD) and includes the whole Family specifically for our area. These, of course might be similarly arranged - haven't seen.

Host Plants of Leaf Beetle Species Occurring in the United States and Canada volume is also available.

Totally cool, but I don't have it
I am completely happy with using that as an authority, but I don't have that reference work. So I'll just ask for some double-checking, corrections, and editing if I go astray.

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina