Explanation of Names
Greek epi 'upon' + caut 'burn, burning' (refers to toxic secretions of these beetles)
2 subgenera; the largest meloid genus in the New World, with 173 spp. in North & Central America(1)
and ~400 spp. worldwide(2)
. Most species belong to the nominate subgenus.(3)
Our species of Epicauta (Macrobasis)
Similar to Lytta
, but with a hairy patch on underside of profemur(4)
and antennae nearly thread-like(5)
Frequently asked question: What angles/details are necessary to get an Epicauta identified from photographs?
John D. Pinto answering:
There is no general recipe. For species ID of some we need to see palpi; for others its tibial spurs; for others it may be hind coxae. For the Caviceps Group the head capsule may be important. These features are not easily documented in field photos. In general, for the subgenus Macrobasis which includes many southwestern species we should have males. Males for all groups are generally best unless the species has a unique color pattern or a unique shape. Fortunately genitalia are of little to no use in Epicauta. Many common Epicauta are simply difficult to identify from photogarphs - field photos are poor substitutes for having a specimen in hand. It seems that it would eventually be worthwhile to photograph authoritatively identified material in museums – virtually all the US species of Epicauta could be done rather easily. Field photos seem to be an inefficient way to get our fauna documented for the non-specialist.
most diverse in the sw. US (1)
; worldwide (except Australia, New Zealand, and Madagascar) and throughout the New World except extreme north and south(2)
primarily parasitoids of grasshopper eggs; some spp. feed on the eggs of other Epicauta
Some species are crop pests