Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




Regional Maps



Compiler and date details

2000 - Updated by A.A. Calder, CSIRO Entomology, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

1987 - J.F. Lawrence, T.A. Weir and J.E. Pyke, Australian National Insect Collection, CSIRO Entomology, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia


In his study of wing-folding, Forbes (1926) brought together as a distinct group of Hydradephaga (see discussion of this term under Adephaga) the families Cyathoceridae (=Lepiceridae), Hydroscaphidae, Microsporidae and Clambidae. Crowson (1955) formally defined a fourth beetle suborder, the Myxophaga, including the first three of these families plus the clambid genus Calyptomerus Redtenbacher. The Clambidae, including Calyptomerus, were later returned to Polyphaga (Crowson, 1960). Steffan (1964) expanded the suborder to include a new family Torridincolidae, whose larvae have segmented spiracular gills on the abdomen. Short, balloon-like spiracular gills, previously known in the larva of Hydroscapha LeConte (Böving 1914), were discovered also in the Microsporus larva described by Britton (1966). The suborder now includes four families, 11 genera and about 60 species worldwide. Two species of Microsporus occur in Australia (Reichardt 1973; Sato 1982; Spangler 1980).

Crowson (1960) considered the Myxophaga to be an early branch of the Polyphaga stem group, in which the larval pretarsus had become fused with the tarsus, but adult polyphagan characters, such as the formation of a prothoracic cryptopleuron and loss of the cubital hinge in the hindwing, had not yet developed. Ponomarenko (1971) hypothesized that Adephaga and Myxophaga evolved from an ancestor which did not give rise to modern Archostemata or Polyphaga, while Lawrence & Newton (1982) suggested that Adephaga, Myxophaga and Archostemata may form a monophyletic group. According to either interpretation, modern Myxophaga represent a few relicts of a Triassic radiation involving the families Schizophoridae and Catiniidae (currently placed in Archostemata by Ponomarenko 1969) while the fusion of the larval tarsus and pretarsus occurred independently in Myxophaga and Polyphaga.

Database Notes

The information on the Australian Faunal Directory site for the Myxophaga is derived from the Zoological Catalogue of Australia database compiled on the Platypus software program. The original work was published on 22 April 1987 as (Lawrence, J.F., Weir, T.A. & Pyke, J.E., 1987) The database was updated by Andrew Calder.

Limital Area

Distribution data in the Directory is by political and geographic region descriptors and serves as a guide to the distribution of a taxon. For details of a taxon's distribution, the reader should consult the cited references (if any) at genus and species levels.

Australia is defined as including Lord Howe Is., Norfolk Is., Cocos (Keeling) Ils, Christmas Is., Ashmore and Cartier Ils, Macquarie Is., Australian Antarctic Territory, Heard and McDonald Ils, and the waters associated with these land areas of Australian political responsibility. Political areas include the adjacent waters.

Terrestrial geographical terms are based on the drainage systems of continental Australia, while marine terms are self explanatory except as follows: the boundary between the coastal and oceanic zones is the 200 m contour; the Arafura Sea extends from Cape York to 124 DEG E; and the boundary between the Tasman and Coral Seas is considered to be the latitude of Fraser Island, also regarded as the southern terminus of the Great Barrier Reef.

Distribution records, if any, outside of these areas are listed as extralimital. The distribution descriptors for each species are collated to genus level. Users are advised that extralimital distribution for some taxa may not be complete.


General References

Böving, A.G. 1914. Notes on the larva of Hydroscapha and some other aquatic larvae from Arizona. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 16: 55-61

Britton, E.B. 1966. On the larva of Sphaerius and the systematic position of the Sphaeriidae (Coleoptera). Australian Journal of Zoology 14: 1193-1198

Crowson, R.A. 1955. The Natural Classification of the Families of Coleoptera. London : Nathaniel Lloyd & Co. 187 pp.

Crowson, R.A. 1960. The phylogeny of the Coleoptera. Annual Review of Entomology 5: 111-134

Forbes, W.T.M. 1926. The wing folding patterns of the Coleoptera. Journal of the New York Entomological Society 34: 42-68, 91-139

Lawrence, J.F., Weir, T.A. & Pyke, J.E. 1987. Suborder Myxophaga. pp. 13-16 in Houston, W.W.K. & Richardson, B.J.R. (eds). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Coleoptera: Archostemata, Myxophaga and Adephaga. Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service Vol. 4 viii 444 pp.

Lawrence, J.F. & Newton, A.F., Jr 1982. Evolution and classification of beetles. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 13: 261-290

Ponomarenko, A.G. 1969. Historical development of the Coleoptera-Archostemata. Trudy Paleontol. Inst. 125:1–240 pls 1–15. [in Russian]

Ponomarenko, A.G. 1971. The geological history and evolution of beetles. Proceedings of the 13th International Congress of Entomology, Moscow 1968 1: 281

Reichardt, H. 1973. A critical study of the suborder Myxophaga, with a taxonomic revision of the Brazilian Torridincolidae and Hydroscaphidae (Coleoptera). Arq. Zool. (Sao Paulo) 24:73–162.

Sato, M. 1982. Discovery of Torridincolidae (Coleoptera) in Japan. Annotationes Zoologicae Japonenses 55(4): 276-283

Spangler, P.J. 1980. A new species of Ytu from Brazil (Coleoptera: Torridincolidae). Coleopterists' Bulletin 34(2): 145-158

Steffan, W. 1964. Torridincolidae, coleopterorum nova familia eregione aethiopica. Entomologische Zeitschrift 74: 193-200


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
12-Feb-2010 (import)