Classification. Polyphaga: Elateriformia.
Distribution. Rhipiceridae occur in all major regions of the world, but they are not very common in collections. The genus Sandalus is known from North and South America, China, Japan, India, Southeast Asia and Africa, Rhipicera occurs in Australia, New Caledonia and Brazil, Ptiocerus is restricted to South Africa, Arrhaphipterus ranges from southeaster Europe to central Asia, and Polymerius is endemic to Chile.
Biogeographic regions: Nearctic, Palearctic, Neotropical, Afrotropical, Oriental, Australian.
Biology. Adult Rhipiceridae are occasionally encountered in large numbers flying during the day. Sandalus niger Knoch is known to lay eggs in bark crevices, and the first instar triungulin larvae attach to cicada nymphs before they enter the soil and transform into ectoparasitic larvae. It is likely that other rhipicerids are also cicada parasites, but this has not been documented.
Craighead, F. C. 1921. Larva of the North American beetle Sandalus niger Knoch. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 23: 44–48.
Crowson, R. A. 1971. Observations on the superfamily Dascilloidea (Coleoptera: Polyphaga), with the inclusion of Karumiidae and Rhipiceridae. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 50: 11–19.
Elzinga, R. J. 1977. Observations on Sandalus niger Knoch (Coleoptera: Sandalidae) with a description of the triungulin larva. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 50: 324–328.
Emden, F. I. van 1924. Zur Kenntnis der Sandalidae. II. u. III. Entomologische Blätter 20: 86–99.
Emden, F. I. van 1930. Ueber die Gattung Polymerius R. A. Phil. Revista Chilena de Historia Natural 34: 262–265.
Emden, F. I. van 1931. Zur Kenntnis der Sandalidae XI-XVI. Entomologische Blätter 27: 49–59, 107–116, 145–152, pl. 1.
Pic, M. 1925. Pars 81. Rhipiceridae. IN: S. Schenkling (ed.), Coleopterorum Catalogus. W. Junk, Berlin, 13 pp.
Rings, R. W. 1942. The external anatomy of Sandalus niger Knoch (Coleoptera, Rhipiceridae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 35: 411–424.
Thomas, M. C. 2000. 43. Rhipiceridae. IN: R. H. Arnett, Jr., Jr. and M. C. Thomas (eds.), American Beetles. CRC Press, Gainesville, Florida (in press).
Young, F. N. 1956. Unusual abundance of Sandalus in southern Indiana. Coleopterists Bulletin 9: 74.
General appearance. Total length 10–25 mm. Ratio of body length to greatest body width 1.95–3.05. Body slightly flattened to moderately convex. Sides of body not evenly curved. Body not capable of conglobation (rolling into a ball). Upper surfaces of body 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. Head width just behind eyes not distinctly greater than prothoracic width. Head not or slightly 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. 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 strongly deflexed, vertical or inflexed at apex only. Occipital region without 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 borne on raised tubercles. Antennal insertions flush with head capsule or raised, not in fossae. Subantennal groove or cavity on head absent or very weakly developed. Frontoclypeal suture absent or incomplete. 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, or narrowly separated. Corporotentorium broad, or narrow, or incomplete or absent; without median process. Cervical sclerites present.
Antennae. Number of antennomeres 11–40. Antennae when posteriorly extended reaching beyond middle of prothorax but not middle of elytra. Antennae pectinate or bipectinate, or flabellate or biflabellate, or capitate (rare). 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 3 (rarely 2). First antennomere (scape) more than 3 times as long as 2nd (pedicel). Antenna not geniculate; without apical club, or with strong apical club. Antennal club 1-segmented; not 5-segmented or with 2nd segment subequal to or larger than 1st; not or slightly flattened; not preceded by a cupule.
Mouthparts. Labrum at least partly visible, or concealed beneath clypeus or apparently absent; free, membranous or separated by suture, or partly or completely fused to clypeus or frontoclypeus, without or with incomplete suture. Major portion of labrum slightly transverse or subquadrate. Apex of labrum 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 moderately elongate. Mandibular apex strongly and abruptly curved mesally; unidentate, truncate or rounded; 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 with single tooth. Mandible without mola; without prostheca. 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; at least as wide as or longer than preapical one. Maxillary palp without complex palp organ. Apical labial palpomere cylindrical to fusiform. Ligula indistinct or absent.
Prothorax. Ratio of pronotal length to greatest pronotal width 0.6–0.9. Prothorax widest posteriorly. Sides of prothorax more or less straight, 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; simple; visible for their entire lengths from above, or not visible for their entire length 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 obtuse or right, or moderately to strongly acute; not produced and acute. Posterior edge of pronotum distinctly sinuate or variously lobed; simple, or distinctly crenulate; not or vaguely margined. Discal carinae of pronotum absent. Pronotal disc without paired basal impressions. Pronotum without median longitudinal groove or line, or with median longitudinal groove or line. Anterior edge of pronotum simple, without margin. Hypomeron without pit.
Anterior portion of prosternum at midline shorter than prosternal process, or as long as 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. 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 margin; without mesal excavation. Anterolateral or ventrolateral portions of prothorax without cavities or grooves, or with broad cavities. Prothoracic cavities absent, or external, open anteriorly, not visible from above. Prothoracic grooves absent. Prosternal process complete, or incomplete; narrowed apically, or parallel-sided; flat, concave, or only slightly elevated or curved behind coxae, or slightly to strongly elevated but not curved behind; not extending to 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. Propleuron not extending to anterior edge of prothorax. Propleuron or pleurotrochantin not extending behind coxa. Procoxae projecting well below prosternum. Procoxa without or with short concealed lateral extension. Procoxal cavity strongly transverse. Procoxal cavities at middle contiguous, or 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 at least partly exposed. Promesothoracic clicking mechanism absent.
Elytra. Elytra present. Ratio of elytral length to greatest elytral width 1.5–2.55. Ratio of elytral length to pronotal length 3.1–5.5. Elytra apunctate, irregularly punctate, or with 5 or fewer distinct puncture rows or striae; without scutellary striole. 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, or independently rounded or acute and separated by broad gap. 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 simple; posteriorly narrowly rounded or acute, or broadly rounded or obtusely angulate. Mesoscutum without stridulatory file. Mesoventrite with paired procoxal rests. Paired mesoventral procoxal rests moderately to strongly oblique. 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. Mesoventral cavity absent. Mesocoxa conical and projecting. Mesocoxal cavities at middle 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. Mesoventral and metaventral processes at midline separated by gap, groove, or suture. Accessory (mesal) mesocoxal articulation absent.
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 present. Anterior edge of metaventrite without transverse carina between mesocoxal cavities. Exposed portion of metepisternum short and broad. 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 weakly developed; not concealing most of basal abdominal ventrite. Metacoxae not greatly enlarged; horizontally oriented. Lateral arms of metendosternite short or absent. Metendosternal laminae absent. Ventrolateral processes of metendosternite absent or weakly developed. Anterior process of metendosternite moderately long. 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 right or obtuse. Radial cell not forming equilateral triangle. Ratio of length of apical area to total wing length less than 0.2. Apical area of hind wing 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. 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. Apex of wedge cell of hind wing acute. 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 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. Inner apical angle of mesotibia not or slightly produced, without tooth. Mesotibial spurs glabrous or absent; double. 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, or shorter than apical one. Penultimate mesotarsomere not distinctly shorter than antepenultimate. Ventral mesotarsal lobes absent, or on more than one tarsomere. Mesotarsal claws paired; subequal in length and similar in form and angle of inclination; simple. Appendage on each tarsal claw absent. Mesotarsal claws without setae near base. Mesotarsal empodium present and exposed; 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. 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, or greatly expanded, broadly oval to circular and flattened. Metatibial spurs double; subequal in length and form, or differing distinctly in length.
Abdomen. Number of abdominal ventrites 5. Number of basal ventrites connate two. 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 absent. 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. 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. Pygidium (sclerotized tergite 7 or 8) more or less horizontal. Anterior edge of sternite 9 in male without median strut. Tergite 9 in male slightly to moderately emarginate. 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 with dorsal and ventral lobes. Anterior edge of penis without struts, or with paired struts.
Illustrations. • Rhipicera. Rhipicera femorata Kirby. Locality: Australia. Artist: F. Nanninga. Copyright CSIRO. Reference: Britton 1970.
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’.