Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Micromalthus debilis LeConte, 1878
Explanation of Names
- Latin for [weak] (1)
reported as causing damage to buildings and poles (hence the name Telephone-pole beetle) - Wiki
monotypic family (Philips 2001)
native to e US, spread globally by commerce (2)(3)
is one of the more amazing beetles - Tree of Life
Micromalthus debilis LeConte has a complicated life cycle involving hypermetamorphosis, paedogenesis and parthenogenesis. (Barber 1913a,b)
"The adults are actually no longer able to reproduce, and the species has evolved to utilize paedogenesis, which is reproduction in the larval stage. They have all the characteristics of larvae other than that one tiny detail, and it occurs before a pupal stage, the adults are still typical beetles occuring after a pupal stage with truncate elytra and dead-end genitalia.
Adults are rare, only emerging after a spike in temperature (Prairie fires perhaps?) and the females actually have a grasping mechanism that will destroy the male adeagus in their efforts to mate despite the fact that it'll be fruitless because they are sterile in the adult stage.
...Research being done right now to figure them out. Including the male larvae that cannibalize their own mothers."
Comment by Natalie Hernandez here
Barber, H.S. 1913a. The remarkable life history of a new family (Micromalthidae) of beetles. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 26: 185-90.
Barber, H.S. 1913b. Observations on the life history of Micromalthus debilis LeC. Proc. Ent. Soc. Wash. 15(1): 31-38.
Beutel, R.G. and T. Hoernschemeyer. 2002. Larval morphology and phylogenetic position of Micromalthus debilis LeConte (Coleoptera: Micromalthidae). Systematic Entomology 27(2): 169-190.
LeConte, J.L. 1878. Descriptions of new species. In: H.G. Hubbard and E.A. Schwarz. The Coleoptera of Michigan. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 17: 593-669.
Philips, T.K. 2001. A record of Micromalthus debilis
(Coleoptera: Micromalthidae) from Central America and a discussion of its distribution. Florida Entomologist 84(1): 159-160. Full PDF
Pollock, D.A. and B.B. Normark. 2002. The life cycle of Micromalthus debilis LeConte (1878) (Coleoptera: Archostemata: Micromalthidae): Historical review and evolutionary perspective. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 40(2): 105-112.