Elateriformia (Coleoptera)

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J. F. Lawrence, A. M. Hastings, M. J. Dallwitz, T. A. Paine and E. J. Zurcher

ELATERIDAE

(Including Cebrionidae, Cavicoxumidae, Dicronychidae, Lissomidae, Throscidae part).

Classification. Polyphaga: Elateriformia.

Distribution. The family Elateridae is more or less cosmopolitan in distribution.

Biogeographic regions: Nearctic, Palearctic, Neotropical, Afrotropical, Oriental, Australian.

Biology. Adult elaterids are often found on foliage or bark surfaces and may feed on plant shoots or tips, nectar or possibly epiphytic microflora. Larvae are liquid feeders utilizing extra-oral digestion, but they may be either predaceous or phytophagous; they occur under bark or rocks and in rotten wood, leaf litter or soil. Soil-dwelling larvae or wireworms may be serious pests of agricultural crops. Larvae of Cardiophorinae occur in soil and are very distinctive, with a very slender, worm-like body and peculiar, externally toothed mandibles; these larvae are predaceous. Male Cebrioninae fly at night and may be attracted to lights, but in several genera, including Cebrio, Selonodon and Euthysanius, females are flightless; all known larvae live in the soil.

Notes. The subfamily classification used here is essentially the same as that of Lawrence and Newton (1995), which was based on the cladograms produced by Calder et al. (1993). Muona (1995) questioned the support for the subfamily Lissominae, as defined by Calder et al., and made a case for recognizing the family Throscidae as defined by Crowson (1951, 1955),including Lissomini and Thylacosterninae, but excluding Austrelater, Oestodini or Protelaterini. This problem needs to be reexamined.

References

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General appearance. Total length 0.9–75 mm. Ratio of body length to greatest body width 1.73–5.16. Body strongly flattened, or slightly flattened to moderately convex, or strongly convex. Sides of body not evenly curved. Body not capable of conglobation (rolling into a ball). Upper surfaces of body glabrous or subglabrous, or clothed with distinct hairs, setae or scales. Vestiture of upper surfaces not including stiff, erect, dark bristles; not including scales or scale-like setae, or including scales or scale-like setae. Upper surfaces of body without deep foveae. Prothorax, metathorax and-or abdomen without extrusible glands. Underside of body without hydrofuge surface(s).

Head. Ratio of head length to its greatest width (excluding eyes) greater than 1, or 1 or less. Head width just behind eyes not distinctly greater than prothoracic width. Head not or slightly declined, or moderately to strongly declined; not entirely concealed from above by pronotum; without elongate rostrum; not abruptly constricted posteriorly. Temples absent or not closely adpressed to prothorax; absent. Transverse occipital ridge or carina absent, or present. Occiput without stridulatory file. Longitudinal axis of head (from occipital foramen to mouth cavity) inclined at an angle of less than 45 degrees, or inclined at an angle of 45 to 90 degrees, or inclined at an angle of more than 90 degrees. Frontal region not to moderately, gradually declined, or strongly deflexed, vertical or inflexed at apex only, or strongly deflexed, vertical or inflexed from behind eyes. Occipital region without median longitudinal groove or line (endocarina), or with median longitudinal groove or line (endocarina). Frontal region without median groove or line (endocarina). Head without ocelli.

Compound eyes present. Eyes not or only slightly protuberant, or strongly protuberant. Vertical diameter of eye less than 2 times horizontal diameter. Eyes finely facetted; without interfacetal setae. Ommatidium of the exocone type. Eye entire. Anterior or mesal edge of eye not or only barely emarginate. Posterior edge of eye not or barely emarginate.

Antennal insertions exposed from above, or concealed from above; moderately to widely separated, or narrowly separated. Antennae not borne on raised tubercles. Antennal insertions flush with head capsule or raised, not in fossae, or countersunk so that they lie within saucer-like fossae. Subantennal groove or cavity on head absent or very weakly developed, or well developed. Frontoclypeal suture absent or incomplete. Clypeus not laterally emarginate. Anterior edge of clypeus or clypeolabrum straight to convex, or concave to shallowly emarginate. Mouth cavity anteriorly or anteroventrally oriented, or ventrally or posteroventrally oriented. Pregular area without laterally opening cavities. Head ventrally without paired subgenal ridges, or with paired subgenal ridges. Head without anteriorly-projecting genal processes, or with anteriorly-projecting genal processes. Gular sutures widely separated or absent. Corporotentorium narrow, or incomplete or absent; without median process, or with median process. Cervical sclerites present.

Antennae. Number of antennomeres 11, or 12. Antennae when posteriorly extended not reaching middle of prothorax, or reaching beyond middle of prothorax but not middle of elytra, or reaching beyond middle of elytra but not elytral apices, or reaching beyond elytral apices. Antennae filiform, or moniliform, or serrate, or pectinate or bipectinate, or flabellate or biflabellate, or plumose or biplumose. Antennomeres 3, 4 or 5 to 10 without or with single rami (uniramose), or with double rami (biramose). Antennae at least partly pubescent or with obvious modifications. Antennal modifications beginning on antennomere 3 (rarely 2), or antennomere 4. First antennomere (scape) less than 3 times as long as 2nd (pedicel), or more than 3 times as long as 2nd (pedicel). Antenna not geniculate, or geniculate or elbowed; without apical club.

Mouthparts. Labrum at least partly visible, or concealed beneath clypeus or apparently absent; free, membranous or separated by suture. Major portion of labrum strongly transverse, or slightly transverse or subquadrate. Apex of labrum subtruncate to slightly convex, or strongly convex, narrowly rounded or acute, or slightly concave or emarginate. Labrum moderately to heavily sclerotized, except at base and-or apex. Mouthparts not forming a piercing or sucking tube. Mandibles present. Mandible short and broad, or moderately elongate, or very narrow and elongate. Mandibular apex moderately to strongly, gradually curved mesally, or strongly and abruptly curved mesally; unidentate, truncate or rounded, or bidentate or bilobed; subacute, bidentate or multidentate. Dorsal part of mandible without tubercle; without setose cavity. Mandible moderately to strongly, more or less evenly sclerotized or pigmented; visible in lateral view. Incisor edge of mandible simple, or with single tooth. Mandible with well developed mola, or with reduced mola, or without mola; with well developed prostheca, or with reduced prostheca, or without prostheca. Prostheca absent or without articulated, sclerotized process. Inner basal angle of mandible without pubescent process. Maxilla with distinct galea and lacinia. Maxillary lobe(s) not stylet-like. Apex of galea or maxillary lobe densely setose or spinose; without heavily sclerotized teeth or hooks. Lacinia without hook(s) or spine(s). Apical maxillary palpomere cylindrical to fusiform, or slightly expanded and truncate to subtriangular, or securiform to cultriform; at least as wide as or longer than preapical one. Maxillary palp without complex palp organ. Apical labial palpomere cylindrical to fusiform, or slightly to strongly expanded apically. Ligula undivided or finely cleft, or shallowly to moderately emarginate, or deeply emarginate or bilobed, or indistinct or absent.

Prothorax. Ratio of pronotal length to greatest pronotal width 0.4–1.35. Prothorax widest anteriorly, or at middle, or posteriorly. Sides of prothorax more or less straight, or moderately to strongly curved, or straight posteriorly, curved anteriorly, or sinuate. Prothorax not laterally compressed to form cavities for legs. Sides of prothorax not or slightly explanate. Base of prothorax not or slightly narrower than elytral bases, or distinctly narrower than elytral bases. Greatest prothoracic width not or slightly narrower than greatest elytral width, or distinctly narrower than greatest elytral width. Lateral pronotal carinae complete, or incomplete, or absent; simple, or finely crenulate or denticulate; visible for their entire lengths from above, or not visible for their entire length from above; without a raised margin, or with a raised margin or narrow bead. Lateral portion of prothorax without deep pit. Pronotum without anterolateral callosities. Anterior angles of pronotum absent or not produced forward, or distinctly produced forward; absent, right or rounded, not produced, or produced and broadly rounded or obtusely angulate, or produced and narrowly rounded or acute. Posterior angles of pronotum obtuse or right, or moderately to strongly acute; not produced and acute, or strongly produced and narrowly acute. Posterior edge of pronotum more or less straight or evenly rounded, or distinctly sinuate or variously lobed; simple, or distinctly crenulate; not or vaguely margined, or with narrow raised margin or bead. Discal carinae of pronotum absent, or located on posterior angles only, or basal but mesad of posterior angles, or extending beyond middle of disc. Pronotal disc without paired basal impressions, or with paired basal impressions. Pronotum without median longitudinal groove or line, or with median longitudinal groove or line. Anterior edge of pronotum simple, without margin, or with narrow margin or bead. Hypomeron without pit.

Anterior portion of prosternum at midline shorter than prosternal process, or as long as prosternal process, or longer than prosternal process. Lateral portion of prosternum in front of coxae shorter than mid length of procoxal cavity, or as long as mid length of procoxal cavity, or longer than mid length of procoxal cavity. Anterior edge of prosternum not produced anteriorly, or distinctly produced forming chin piece. Prosternum in front of coxae concave or biconcave, or flat to moderately convex, or strongly convex without carina. Prosternum in front of coxae without paired lines or carinae, or with paired lines or carinae. Anterior edge of prosternum without margin, or with narrow margin or bead; without mesal excavation. Anterolateral or ventrolateral portions of prothorax without cavities or grooves, or with broad cavities, or with narrow grooves. Prothoracic cavities absent, or internal. Prothoracic grooves absent, or longitudinal, below lateral edges of prothorax, or longitudinal or oblique, elsewhere on hypomera or prosternum. Prosternal process complete; narrowed apically, or parallel-sided, or gradually expanded and then narrowed; flat, concave, or only slightly elevated or curved behind coxae, or strongly elevated and curved dorsally behind coxae, or slightly to strongly elevated but not curved behind; slightly overlapping mesoventrite, or moderately to strongly overlapping mesoventrite, or concealing most or all of mesoventrite. Apex of prosternal process acute or narrowly rounded, or broadly rounded, angulate or truncate. Prosternal process without transverse groove. Accessory (mesal) procoxal articulation absent. Ventral portion of prothorax on each side with notosternal suture only, or without sutures or with incomplete notosternal suture. Propleuron not extending to anterior edge of prothorax. Propleuron or pleurotrochantin not extending behind coxa. Procoxae not or slightly projecting below prosternum. Procoxa without or with short concealed lateral extension, or with long concealed, lateral extension. Procoxal cavities present, procoxae countersunk. Procoxal cavity slightly transverse, or circular or longer than wide. Procoxal cavities at middle narrowly separated, or moderately to widely separated. Procoxal cavities externally open; broadly open, or narrowly open. Postcoxal projection absent or very short, or moderately long but not meeting prosternal process. Procoxal cavities without narrow lateral extensions, or with narrow lateral extensions. Procoxal cavities internally open, or closed by slender bar. Prothoracic trochantin or pleurotrochantin at least partly exposed, or completely concealed or absent. Promesothoracic clicking mechanism absent, or present.

Elytra. Elytra present. Ratio of elytral length to greatest elytral width 1–3.83. Ratio of elytral length to pronotal length 1.3–6. Elytra apunctate, irregularly punctate, or with 5 or fewer distinct puncture rows or striae, or with more than 5 distinct puncture rows, or with more than 5 distinct impressed striae; without scutellary striole. Number elytral puncture rows or striae 10, or 9. Sutural stria absent or not deeply impressed near apex. Abdominal tergites exposed by elytra none or apex of 1, or most of one, or at least one but less than 2, or at least 2 but less than 3, or 3 or more. Exposed abdominal segments more or less flexible. Elytral apices meeting or almost meeting at the suture, or independently rounded or acute and separated by broad gap. Elytral suture not deflected near apex. Elytral apex without internal interlocking tongue. Epipleuron absent or incomplete, or complete; not or gradually narrowed, or abruptly narrowed or excavated. Lateral edge of elytron straight or weakly sinuate.

Pterothorax. Scutellum well developed; not abruptly elevated, or abruptly elevated; anteriorly simple, or notched, or crenulate; posteriorly narrowly rounded or acute, or broadly rounded or obtusely angulate, or truncate. Mesoscutum without stridulatory file. Mesoventrite without paired procoxal rests, or with paired procoxal rests. Paired mesoventral procoxal rests absent, horizontal or slightly oblique, or moderately to strongly oblique, or vertical. Anterior edge of mesoventrite without prosternal rest, or with median prosternal rest. Mesoventrite not divided by longitudinal groove or discrimen. Anterior edge of mesoventrite at midline on same plane as metaventrite, or on different plane than metaventrite. Mesoventral cavity moderately large and shallow, or moderately to very large and deep. Mesocoxa not conical and projecting, or conical and projecting. Mesocoxal cavities present, mesocoxae countersunk. Mesocoxal cavities at middle contiguous, or narrowly separated, or moderately to widely separated. Mesocoxae separated by less than shortest diameter of coxal cavity, or more than shortest diameter of coxal cavity. Mesocoxal cavities circular to slightly transverse; not or slightly oblique. Mesoventrite separated by complete sutures from mesepisterna. Mesepisterna distinctly separated at midline; without deep pockets. Mesepimeron not visible from above. Mesocoxal cavities open laterally, or closed laterally; not partly closed by metepisterna. Mesoventral process absent or not extending to middle of mesocoxal cavity, or extending at least to middle of mesocoxal cavity. Mesometaventral junction absent or a point, or a straight line, or a posteriorly curved, angulate or acute line, or an anteriorly curved, angulate or acute line, or a complex fitting, or absent due to fusion. Mesoventral and metaventral processes at midline separated by gap, groove, or suture, or solidly fused or separated at most by weakly impressed line. Accessory (mesal) mesocoxal articulation absent.

Metaventral discrimen or median line moderately to very long, or absent. Paired postcoxal lines of metaventrite absent, or present. Postcoxal lines of metaventrite absent, or arched and strongly recurved, or arched but not or slightly recurved, or straight or slightly, mesally curved. Metaventrite longer than first abdominal ventrite, or not longer than first abdominal ventrite. Postcoxal pits of metaventrite absent. Metaventrite flat to slightly convex, or moderately to strongly convex. Transverse groove of metaventrite absent. Anterior edge of metaventrite without transverse carina between mesocoxal cavities. Exposed portion of metepisternum moderately elongate, or very long and narrow or absent. Metacoxae contiguous or narrowly separated; separated by less than longest coxal diameter; extending laterally to meet elytra or sides of body; completely separated from metaventrite by suture. Metacoxal plates well developed, more or less uniform, or well developed mesally, weak laterally, or weakly developed, or absent; not concealing most of basal abdominal ventrite. Metacoxae not greatly enlarged, or greatly enlarged; horizontally oriented, or obliquely oriented. Lateral arms of metendosternite short or absent, or moderately to very long. Metendosternal laminae absent. Ventrolateral processes of metendosternite absent or weakly developed, or strongly developed. Anterior process of metendosternite moderately long, or short or absent. Anterior tendons of metendosternite moderately or very close together, or widely separated but not on lateral arms, or on lateral arms or not apparent. Apical portion of metendosternite not or only slightly emarginate.

Hind wing. Hind wing well developed, or highly reduced or absent; with normal transverse folds, or lacking transverse folds. Radial cell of hind wing well developed, or highly reduced or absent; elongate, or shorter and broader, or incomplete or absent. Inner posterior angle formed at base of radial cell right or obtuse, or acute. Radial cell not forming equilateral triangle. Ratio of length of apical area to total wing length less than 0.2, or 0.20–0.35. Apical area of hind wing without veins or sclerotizations, or with one or more vague sclerotizations or pigment patches, or with one or more distinct veins (branches of RA and-or RP). Medial bar of hind wing not crossed by fold. Free veins in medial area of hind wing 5 or 6, or 4, or 3 or fewer. Oblongum cell of hind wing absent. Medial fleck of hind wing absent; absent or not partly bisected by a vein. Wedge cell of hind wing well developed, or reduced, or absent. Apex of wedge cell of hind wing squarely truncate, or obliquely truncate. Anal lobe of hind wing absent, or present. Posterior edge of hind wing without fringe of long hairs.

Legs. Femoral attachment of mid trochanter transverse or slightly oblique, or strongly oblique with base of femur separate from coxa. Mesotrochanter not reduced or concealed from below. Metafemur not much wider than mesofemur, or much wider than mesofemur. Mesotibia not strongly widened, or strongly widened, widest at or near apex, or strongly widened, widest well before apex. Outer edge of mesotibia simple, crenulate or denticulate, or with distinct teeth or long spines. Outer subapical edge of mesotibia without antenna cleaner. Preapical surfaces of mesotibia without ridges or combs. Outer apical angle of mesotibia simple or slightly produced, without lobe, teeth or spines, or with rounded lobe or process, sometimes bearing spines. Inner apical angle of mesotibia not or slightly produced, without tooth. Mesotibial spurs glabrous or absent; double, or single, or absent. Mesotarsus with 5 distinct tarsomeres (pentamerous). Tarsomeres on hind leg at least as many as on mid leg. Tarsomeres on fore leg at least as many as on mid leg. Mesotarsomere 1 well developed and visible. Preapical mesotarsomeres together longer than apical one. Penultimate mesotarsomere not distinctly shorter than antepenultimate, or distinctly shorter than antepenultimate. Ventral mesotarsal lobes absent, or on penultimate tarsomere only, or on antepenultimate tarsomere only, or on more than one tarsomere. Mesotarsal claws paired; subequal in length and similar in form and angle of inclination; simple, or toothed or bifid, or serrate, denticulate or pectinate. Appendage on each tarsal claw absent. Mesotarsal claws without setae near base, or with one or more setae near base. Mesotarsal empodium present and exposed; absent or with 2 or fewer setae, or with 3 or more setae. Outer edge of protibia simple and rounded to carinate but without lobes or teeth, except at apex. Outer apical angle of protibia simple or slightly produced, without lobe, teeth or spines. Inner subapical edge of protibia without antenna cleaner. Protibial spurs double, or single, or absent. Articulations of protibial spurs located in same plane. Hind legs without swimming hairs. Preapical surfaces of metatibia without ridges or combs. Metatibial articular area not to only moderately expanded, narrowly oval or oblique. Metatibial spurs double, or single, or absent; subequal in length and form.

Abdomen. Number of abdominal ventrites 5, or 6–7. Number of basal ventrites connate none, or four. Abdominal sternite 2 visible, or apparently absent. First ventrite not completely divided by metacoxae. Suture between ventrites 1 and 2 distinct. Suture between ventrites 2 and 3 distinct. Ventrite 4 articulated with or connate with both 3 and 5. Postcoxal lines on ventrite 1 absent, or 1 pair, strongly curved or recurved, or 1 pair, straight or slightly curved. Ventrite 1 not much longer than 2. Abdominal process acute or narrowly rounded, or broadly rounded or angulate, or absent. Ventrite 5 in female without circular depression. Posterior edge of ventrite 5 not crenulate, or crenulate. Last visible tergite and-or sternite (7 or 8) not forming terminal spine. Tergite and sternite 7 separated by membrane or distinct suture. Subapical abdominal luminous organ absent. Ventrites without setose patches or foveae. Functional spiracles on abdominal segment 8 present. Functional spiracles on abdominal segment 7 present. Functional spiracles on abdominal segment 6 present. Functional spiracles on abdominal segment 5 present. 7th abdominal spiracles located in pleural membrane. 6th abdominal spiracles located in pleural membrane. 5th abdominal spiracles located in pleural membrane. Anterior edge of sternite 8 in male without median strut, or with median strut. Pygidium (sclerotized tergite 7 or 8) more or less horizontal. Anterior edge of sternite 9 in male without median strut. Tergite 9 in male truncate, or slightly to moderately emarginate, or deeply emarginate, or almost completely divided into two parts, or completely fused to tergite 10. Tergite 10 in male well developed and free, or partly fused to tergite 9, or completely membranous or fused to tergite 9.

Aedeagus trilobate; symmetrical, or asymmetrical. Anterior edge of tegmen or phallobase without struts. Parameres individually articulated to phallobase or base of penis, or fused to phallobase or base of penis but free from one another, or partly or entirely fused together but articulated to phallobase; not outwardly hooked, or outwardly hooked. Penis without dorsal and ventral lobes. Anterior edge of penis without struts, or with paired struts.

Illustrations. • Anilicus. Anilicus xanthomus (W. S. Macleay). Locality: Australia. Artist: C. Eadie. Copyright CSIRO. Reference: Calder 1996. • Agrypnus. Agrypnus mamillatus (Candèze). Locality: Australia. Artist:C. Eadie. Copyright CSIRO. Reference: Calder 1996. • Danosoma. Danosoma fasciata (Linnaeus). Locality: Europe. Photo: K. Smith. Copyright CSIRO. • Octocryptus. Octocryptus sp. Locality: India. Photo: K. Smith. Copyright CSIRO. • Paracardiophorus. Paracardiophorus venustus (Candèze). Locality: Australia. Artist: C. Eadie. Copyright CSIRO. Reference: Calder 1996. • Scaptolenus. Scaptolenus lecontei Chevrolat. Locality: North America. Artist: E. Van Tassell. Courtesy of Dr. Ross Arnett. Reference: Arnett 1963. • Acritelater. Acritelater reversus (Sharp). Locality: Australia. Artist: S. P. Kim. Copyright CSIRO. Reference: Calder 1984. • Adrastus. Adrastus limbatus (Fabricius). Locality: Europe. Reference: Reitter 1911. • Melanotus. Melanotus mouldsi Calder. Locality: Australia. Artist: A. Atkins. Copyright CSIRO. Reference: Calder 1996. • Odontonychus. Odontonychus lamottei Girard. Locality: West Africa. Courtesy of Revue Française d'Entomologie. Reference: Girard 1992. • Anisomerus. Anisomerus hacquardi (Candéze). Locality: East Africa. Reference: Schwarz 1907. Courtesy of Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique. • Hemiops. Hemiops sp. Locality: Malaysia. Photo: K. Smith. Copyright CSIRO. • Austrelater. Austrelater macphersonensis Calder. Locality: Australia. Artist: A. Hastings. Copyright CSIRO. Reference: Calder et al. 1993. • Osslimus. Osslimus freyi (Cobos). Locality: Australia. Artist: S. P. Kim. Copyright CSIRO. Reference: Calder 1996. • Paradrapetes. Paradrapetes sp. Locality: Brazil. Photo: D. McClenaghan. Copyright CSIRO. • Oestodes. Oestodes tenuicollis (Randall). Locality: Eastern North America. Photo: K. Smith. Copyright CSIRO. • Protelater. Protelater guttatus Sharp. Locality: New Zealand. Photo: K. Smith. Copyright CSIRO. • Quasimus. Quasimus sp. Locality: Java. Photo: K. Smith. Copyright CSIRO. • Rivulicola. Rivulicola variegatus (Macleay). Locality: Australia. Photo: D. McClenaghan. Copyright CSIRO. • Physodactylus. Physodactylus foveatostriatus Fleutiaux. Locality: Brazil. Photo: K. Smith. Copyright CSIRO. • Toxognathus. Toxognathus sp. Locality: China. Photo: K. Smith. Copyright CSIRO. • Pityobius. Pityobius murrayi LeConte. Locality: Western North America. Photo: D. McClenaghan. Copyright CSIRO. • Oistus. Oistus cacicus Candèze. Locality: Central America. Reference: Champion 1894. • Semiotus. Semiotus jansoni Candèze. Locality: South America. Reference: Schwarz 1907. Courtesy of Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique. • Subprotelater. Subprotelater sp. Locality: Australia. Artist: S. P. Kim. Copyright CSIRO. • Pseudotetralobus. Pseudotetralobus sp. Locality: Australia. Photo: D. McClenaghan. Copyright CSIRO. • Cussolenis. Cussolenis mutabilis (Bonvouloir). Locality: Australia. Artist: S. P. Kim. Copyright CSIRO. Reference: Calder 1996. • Athoomorphus. Athoomorphus cylindricus Schwarz. Locality: Southern Africa. Photo: K. Smith. Copyright CSIRO. • Diplophoenicus. Diplophoenicus alluaudi Candèze. Locality: Madagascar. Photo: K. Smith. Copyright CSIRO. • Pleonomoides. Pleonomoides flavus (Schwarz). Locality: Southern Africa. Photo: K. Smith. Copyright CSIRO.


The interactive key provides access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, and summaries of attributes within groups of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Lawrence, J.F., Hastings, A.M., Dallwitz, M.J., Paine, T.A., and Zurcher, E.J. 2000 onwards. Elateriformia (Coleoptera): descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval for families and subfamilies. Version: 9th October 2005. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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