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Photo#413248
Tiny ochre beetle with biforcated front-leg claws - Lepidocnemeplatia sericea

Tiny ochre beetle with biforcated front-leg claws - Lepidocnemeplatia sericea
Madrona Marsh Preserve, Torrance, Los Angeles County, California, USA
June 18, 2010
Size: ~ 2 mm
Found this unusual beetle on sandy soil.
Its front legs end in a fork, which might be used for digging.

Its overall habitus resembles some Darkling Beetles, like Anepsiini, but this might be barking up the wrong family tree, especially given the forked legs ...

Images of this individual: tag all
Tiny ochre beetle with biforcated front-leg claws - Lepidocnemeplatia sericea Tiny ochre beetle with biforcated front-leg claws - Lepidocnemeplatia sericea Tiny ochre beetle with biforcated front-leg claws - Lepidocnemeplatia sericea Tiny ochre beetle with biforcated front-leg claws - Lepidocnemeplatia sericea Tiny ochre beetle with biforcated front-leg claws - Lepidocnemeplatia sericea

Moved tentatively; you sound convincing, Emile
Moved from Cnemeplatini.

 
Thanks for moving them ahead, =V= !
Would you be able to change the tribal name into Cnemeplatiini ?

 
done -- thnx for catching this

perfectly justified barking, Emile. Lovely teneb, new-to-BG, too
dunno genus yet

Moved from ID Request.

 
=V= strikes again !
Thanks a lot for getting this unusual beetle to tribe !

At about two millimeters, this is one of the smallest darkling beetles around !

In the Cnemeplatiini tribe I found 8 genera in at least 4 subtribes and 30 odd species worldwide, of which 2 genera and at least 9 species in North America.
It looks like the tribal boundaries are still under discussion, so these numbers vary according to interpretation.
In any case, both the North American genera are represented in BugGuide, and their habita are quite different; Alaudes with at least 8 Californian species, and Lepidocnemeplatia with only one North American representative: L. sericea, which matches very nicely.
Hence, even though the L. sericea specimen currently on BugGuide has a different coloration, which might be due to it being pinned and desiccated, or due to lighting, it must be Lepidocnemeplatia sericea.

It turns out that the apparent bifurcated front leg is due to two greatly enlarged tibial spines, which are used for digging !

By the way, the tribal name 'Cnemeplatiini' is written with three I's.

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