Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Integrated phylogenomics and fossil data illuminate the evolution of beetles
By Cai C et al.
R. Soc. Open Sci. 9: 211771, 2022
Cite: 2100913 with citation markup [cite:2100913]
Full Text

Cai C et al. 2022 Integrated phylogenomics and fossil data illuminate the evolution of beetles. R. Soc. Open Sci. 9: 211771.


Beetles constitute the most biodiverse animal order with over 380 000 described species and possibly several million more yet unnamed. Recent phylogenomic studies have arrived at considerably incongruent topologies and widely varying estimates of divergence dates for major beetle clades. Here, we use a dataset of 68 single-copy nuclear protein-coding (NPC) genes sampling 129 out of the 193 recognized extant families as well as the first comprehensive set of fully justified fossil calibrations to recover a refined timescale of beetle evolution. Using phylogenetic methods that counter the effects of compositional and rate heterogeneity, we recover a topology congruent with morphological studies, which we use, combined with other recent phylogenomic studies, to propose several formal changes in the classification of Coleoptera:

Scirtiformia and Scirtoidea sensu nov.,
Clambiformia ser. nov. and
Clamboidea sensu nov.,
Rhinorhipiformia ser. nov.,
Byrrhoidea sensu nov.,
Dryopoidea stat. res.,
Nosodendriformia ser. nov. and
Staphyliniformia sensu nov., and
Erotyloidea stat. nov.,
Nitiduloidea stat. nov. and
Cucujoidea sensu nov.,

alongside changes below the superfamily level. Our divergence time analyses recovered a late Carboniferous origin of Coleoptera, a late Palaeozoic origin of all modern beetle suborders and a Triassic–Jurassic origin of most extant families, while fundamental divergences within beetle phylogeny did not coincide with the hypothesis of a Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution.

- snips -


Scirtiformia and Scirtoidea sensu nov. are restricted to Decliniidae and Scirtidae, while Clambiformia Cai and Tihelka ser. nov. and its single constituent superfamily Clamboidea sensu nov. is considered to contain the extant families Clambidae, Derodontidae and Eucinetidae. The other members of the former Derodontoidea, Nosodendridae and Jacobsoniidae are placed into Nosodendriformia Cai and Tihelka ser. nov. and Staphylinoidea, respectively. To maintain the monophyly of the well-defined Elateriformia, we erect the new series Rhinorhipiformia Cai, Engel and Tihelka ser. nov. for the family Rhinorhipidae. Scarabaeoidea is formally incorporated into Staphyliniformia sensu nov. The former Cucujoidea is divided into three superfamilies: Erotyloidea stat. nov., Nitiduloidea stat. nov. and Cucujoidea sensu nov. Silphinae stat. nov. are treated as a subfamily of Staphylinidae sensu. nov., and Colonidae stat. nov. is restored as an independent family and not a subfamily of Leiodidae.

So many changes...
As a very new contributing editor, I wonder how long do we usually wait before trying to adapt the guide with such major taxonomical changes? What are the usual procedures? Do we wait for a more general consensus/use of these changes, or other supporting publications?

I don't think these changes have been widely adopted
I posted this paper for informational purposes. I don't think these changes have been integrated into BugGuide.