Classification. Polyphaga: Elateriformia.
Distribution. Ptilodactylinae occur in most parts of the world, especially in warmer regions. They are not native to Europe, but one species is known as a greenhouse pest in Italy (Süss and Puppin 1976).
Biogeographic regions: Nearctic, Palearctic, Neotropical, Afrotropical, Oriental, Australian.
Biology. Ptilodactyline adults are often found on foliage and feed on microfungi; their maxillae are modified to form brushes for handling spores and loose hyphae (Stribling and Seymour 1988). Their larvae occur in leaf litter or dead wood, often in wetter environments. Unlike some other members of the family, these larvae do not have special adaptations for surviving under water.
Notes. In addition to the widely distributed genus Ptilodactyla, other genera belonging to this subfamily include Chelonariomorphus, Lachnodactyla, Pherocladus and Stirophora.
Costa, C., S. A. Vanin and S. Ide 1999. Systematics and bionomics of Cneoglossidae with a cladistic analysis of Byrrhoidea sensu Lawrence & Newton (1995) (Coleoptera, Elateriformia). Arquivos de Zoologia 35: 231–300.
Ivie, M. A. 2000. 54. Ptilodactylidae. IN: R. H. Arnett, Jr., Jr. and M. C. Thomas (eds.), American Beetles. CRC Press, Gainesville, Florida (in press).
Lawrence, J. F. 1991. Ptilodactylidae (Dryopoidea), pp. 391–394. IN F. W. Stehr (ed.), Immature Insects. Vol. 2. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., Dubuque, Iowa.
Pic, M. 1914. Pars 58. Dascillidae, Helodidae, Eucinetidae. IN: S. Schenkling (ed.), Coleopterorum Catalogus. W. Junk, Berlin, 65 pp.
Stribling, J. B. 1986. World generic revision of Ptilodactylidae (Coleoptera: Dryopoidea). Ohio State University (PhD Thesis), Columbus.
Stribling, J. B. and R. L. Seymour 1988. Evidence of mycophagy in Ptilodactylidae (Coleoptera: Dryopoidea) with notes on phylogenetic implications. Coleopterists Bulletin 42: 152–154.
Süss, L. and O. Puppin 1976. Osservationi sulla morfologia e sulla biologia di Ptilodactyla exotica Chapin (Coleoptera, Ptilodactylidae) nelle serre della Lombardia e contributo bibliografico allo studio del gruppo. Bolletino di Zoologia Agraria e di Bachicoltura (2) 13: 143–165.
General appearance. Total length 2.5–11 mm. Ratio of body length to greatest body width 2.1–2.25. Body 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. 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) 1 or less. Head width just behind eyes not distinctly greater than prothoracic width. Head 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. Frontal region not to moderately, gradually declined. Occipital region without median longitudinal groove or line (endocarina). Frontal region without median groove or line (endocarina). Head without ocelli.
Compound eyes present. Eyes 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; moderately to widely separated, or narrowly separated. Antennae not borne on raised tubercles. Subantennal groove or cavity on head absent or very weakly developed. Frontoclypeal suture distinctly impressed; straight, slightly curved or angulate. Clypeus not laterally emarginate. Anterior edge of clypeus or clypeolabrum straight to convex. Mouth cavity anteriorly or anteroventrally oriented. Pregular area without laterally opening cavities. Head ventrally without paired subgenal ridges. Head without anteriorly-projecting genal processes. Gular sutures widely separated or absent. Corporotentorium incomplete or absent. Cervical sclerites present.
Antennae. Number of antennomeres 11. Antennae when posteriorly extended reaching beyond middle of prothorax but not middle of elytra, or reaching beyond middle of elytra but not elytral apices. Antennae serrate, or with articulated appendages. Antennomeres 3, 4 or 5 to 10 without or with single rami (uniramose). Antennae at least partly pubescent or with obvious modifications. Antennal modifications beginning on antennomere 4. First antennomere (scape) less than 3 times as long as 2nd (pedicel). Antenna not geniculate; without apical club.
Mouthparts. Labrum at least partly visible; free, membranous or separated by suture. Major portion of labrum slightly transverse or subquadrate. Apex of labrum subtruncate to slightly convex. 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. Mandibular apex moderately to strongly, gradually curved mesally, or strongly and abruptly curved mesally; bidentate or bilobed. Dorsal part of mandible without tubercle; without setose cavity. Incisor edge of mandible simple. Mandible with well developed mola; with well developed prostheca, or with reduced prostheca. Prostheca absent or without articulated, sclerotized 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 deeply emarginate or bilobed.
Prothorax. Ratio of pronotal length to greatest pronotal width 0.48–0.65. Prothorax widest posteriorly. Sides of prothorax moderately to strongly curved, or straight posteriorly, curved anteriorly. 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. Greatest prothoracic width not or slightly narrower than greatest elytral width. Lateral pronotal carinae incomplete; simple; visible for their entire lengths from above; without a raised margin. Lateral portion of prothorax without deep pit. Pronotum without anterolateral callosities. Anterior angles of pronotum absent or not produced forward; absent, right or rounded, not produced. Posterior angles of pronotum moderately to strongly acute; not produced and acute. Posterior edge of pronotum distinctly sinuate or variously lobed; distinctly crenulate; not or vaguely margined. Discal carinae of pronotum absent. Pronotal disc without paired basal impressions. Pronotum without median longitudinal groove or line. Hypomeron without pit.
Anterior portion of prosternum at midline shorter than prosternal process. Lateral portion of prosternum in front of coxae shorter than mid length of procoxal cavity. Anterior edge of prosternum not produced anteriorly. Prosternum in front of coxae flat to moderately convex. Prosternum in front of coxae without paired lines or carinae. Anterior edge of prosternum without mesal excavation. Anterolateral or ventrolateral portions of prothorax without cavities or grooves. Prothoracic cavities absent. Prothoracic grooves absent. Prosternal process complete; parallel-sided; flat, concave, or only slightly elevated or curved behind coxae, or slightly to strongly elevated but not curved behind; slightly overlapping mesoventrite. Apex of prosternal process acute or narrowly rounded. Prosternal process without transverse groove. Accessory (mesal) procoxal articulation absent. Ventral portion of prothorax on each side with notosternal suture only. Propleuron not extending to anterior edge of prothorax. Propleuron or pleurotrochantin not extending behind coxa. Procoxae not or slightly projecting below prosternum. Procoxa with long concealed, lateral extension. Procoxal cavity slightly transverse. Procoxal cavities at middle narrowly separated. Procoxal cavities externally open; broadly open. Postcoxal projection absent or very short. Procoxal cavities without narrow lateral extensions. Procoxal cavities internally open. Prothoracic trochantin or pleurotrochantin completely concealed or absent. Promesothoracic clicking mechanism absent.
Elytra. Elytra present. Ratio of elytral length to greatest elytral width 1.65–1.8. Ratio of elytral length to pronotal length 3.3–4.35. Elytra apunctate, irregularly punctate, or with 5 or fewer distinct puncture rows or striae, or with more than 5 distinct puncture rows; without scutellary striole. Number elytral puncture rows or striae 10. Sutural stria absent or not deeply impressed near apex. Abdominal tergites exposed by elytra none or apex of 1. Elytral apices meeting or almost meeting at the suture. Elytral suture not deflected near apex. Elytral apex without internal interlocking tongue. Epipleuron complete; not or gradually narrowed. Lateral edge of elytron straight or weakly sinuate.
Pterothorax. Scutellum well developed; abruptly elevated; anteriorly notched; posteriorly narrowly rounded or acute, or broadly rounded or obtusely angulate. Mesoscutum without stridulatory file. Mesoventrite with paired procoxal rests. Paired mesoventral procoxal rests absent, horizontal or slightly oblique. Anterior edge of mesoventrite without prosternal rest. Mesoventrite not divided by longitudinal groove or discrimen, or at least partly divided by longitudinal groove or discrimen. Anterior edge of mesoventrite at midline on same plane as metaventrite. Mesoventral cavity absent, or small and shallow. Mesocoxa not conical and projecting. Mesocoxal cavities at middle narrowly separated, or moderately to widely separated. Mesocoxae separated by less 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; not partly closed by metepisterna. Mesoventral process extending at least to middle of mesocoxal cavity. Mesometaventral junction a complex fitting.
Metaventral discrimen or median line moderately to very long. Paired postcoxal lines of metaventrite absent. Postcoxal lines of metaventrite absent. Metaventrite longer than first abdominal ventrite. Postcoxal pits of metaventrite absent. Metaventrite 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. Metacoxae contiguous or narrowly separated; extending laterally to meet elytra or sides of body; completely separated from metaventrite by suture. Metacoxal plates well developed mesally, weak laterally, or weakly developed; not concealing most of basal abdominal ventrite. Metacoxae not greatly enlarged; obliquely oriented. Lateral arms of metendosternite short or absent. Metendosternal laminae absent. Ventrolateral processes of metendosternite absent or weakly developed, or strongly developed. Anterior process of metendosternite short or absent. Anterior tendons of metendosternite moderately or very close together. Apical portion of metendosternite not or only slightly emarginate.
Hind wing. Hind wing well developed; with normal transverse folds. Radial cell of hind wing well developed; elongate. Inner posterior angle formed at base of radial cell acute. Radial cell not forming equilateral triangle. Ratio of length of apical area to total wing length 0.20–0.35. Medial bar of hind wing not crossed by fold. Free veins in medial area of hind wing 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 absent. Anal lobe of hind wing absent. Posterior edge of hind wing without fringe of long hairs.
Legs. Femoral attachment of mid trochanter strongly oblique with base of femur separate from coxa. Mesotrochanter not reduced or concealed from below. Metafemur not much wider than mesofemur. Mesotibia not strongly widened. Outer edge of mesotibia 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. Mesotibial spurs pubescent. Mesotarsus with 4 distinct tarsomeres and reduced penultimate one (pseudotetramerous). 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 distinctly shorter than antepenultimate. Ventral mesotarsal lobes on antepenultimate tarsomere only. Mesotarsal claws paired; subequal in length and similar in form and angle of inclination; toothed or bifid. Appendage on each tarsal claw absent. Mesotarsal claws without setae near base. Mesotarsal empodium absent or with 2 or fewer setae. Inner subapical edge of protibia without antenna cleaner. Hind legs without swimming hairs. Preapical surfaces of metatibia without ridges or combs.
Abdomen. Number of abdominal ventrites 5. Number of basal ventrites connate three. Abdominal sternite 2 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. Ventrite 1 not much longer than 2. Abdominal process acute or narrowly rounded. Ventrite 5 in female without circular depression. Posterior edge of ventrite 5 not crenulate. Last visible tergite and-or sternite (7 or 8) not forming terminal spine. Subapical abdominal luminous organ absent. Ventrites without setose patches or foveae. Functional spiracles on abdominal segment 8 absent. Anterior edge of sternite 8 in male with median strut. Anterior edge of sternite 9 in male with median strut (spiculum gastrale). Tergite 9 in male truncate. Tergite 10 in male well developed and free.
Aedeagus trilobate; symmetrical. Anterior edge of tegmen or phallobase without struts. Parameres individually articulated to phallobase or base of penis; not outwardly hooked. Penis without dorsal and ventral lobes. Anterior edge of penis with paired struts.
Illustrations. • Ptilodactyla. Ptilodactyla caudata Champion. Locality: Central America. Reference: Champion 1897.
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’.