Another consequence of the recent Treatise
of Western Hemisphere Tiger Beetles (Erwin and Pearson 2008) was a change in the group's higher classification. I made brief reference to this in my previous topic
discussing the book's subgeneric elevations without giving more detail. With regards to the North American fauna, the new classification is as follows:
- Family Carabidae
- Subfamily Carabinae
- Supertribe Cicindelitae
- Tribe Cicindelini
- Subtribe Megacephalina
- Genus Amblycheila
- Genus Omus
- Genus Tetracha
- Subtribe Cicindelina
- Genus Brasiella
- Genus Cicindela
- Genus Cylindera
- Genus Dromochorus
- Genus Ellipsoptera
- Genus Eunota
- Genus Habroscelimorpha
- Genus Microthylax
- Genus Opilidia
The main impacts from this new classification (aside from the now addressed subgeneric elevations) are:
- The genera Amblycheila, Omus, and Tetracha are now all placed within a single tribal-group taxon (currently the first two genera are placed in the tribe Omini, while the last is place in the Megacephalini).
- The tribes Megacephalini and Cicindelini are reduced to subtribes within an expanded tribe Cicindelini.
- Tiger beetles as a whole are considered a supertribe within the subfamily Carabinae rather than a subfamily within the Carabidae.
As far as I can tell, combining the three genera formerly included in the tribes Omini and Megacephalini into a single higher taxon is relatively easy. However, reducing the tribes to subtribes and the subfamily to supertribe seems to present a challenge in terms of the current BugGuide structure. I therefore propose a blended approach in which we combine the Omini and Megacephalini into a single taxon but maintain it at the tribal level (Tribe Megacephalini). Likewise, tribe Cicindelini and subfamily Cicindelinae would also be maintained at their current ranks. Thus, the BugGuide higher classification would be:
- Family Carabidae
- Subfamily Cicindelinae
- Tribe Megacephalini (includes Amblycheila, Omus, and Tetracha)
- Tribe Cicindelini (includes Cicindela and its former subgenera)
My main goal here is to make the higher classification reflective of current opinion without unnecessarily complicating the taxon heirarchy with seldom-used secondary ranks. All points of view on whether my proposal accomplishes that are welcome.