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ant-like flower beetles

(Anthicidae)

aquatic beetles (Gyrinidae etc) jewel beetles (Buprestidae) ground beetles (Carabidae) longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae) leaf beetles Chrysomelidae ladybirds (Coccinellidae)
checkered beetles etc. (Cleroidea)

click beetles

(Elateridae)

blister beetles (Meloidae) flower beetles (Oedemeridae) primitive weevils (Rhynchitidae etc.)
chafers etc. (Scarabaeoidea) darkling beetles (Tenebrionidae)

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THE CHECKERED BEETLES and ALLIES (COL., CLEROIDEA) OF THÁSOS

Trichodes apiarius (c) Berger Harald

The Superfamily Cleroidea in Europe contains ten Coleoptera Families, of which just four have been recorded from Thásos so far: the Cleridae (Checkered beetles), Dasytidae & Malachiidae (Soft-winged flower beetles) and the Trogositidae (Bark-gnawing beetles). Although taxonomically related, the individual Families vary considerably, such that the bark-gnawing beetles (like the narrow-bodied Nemozoma elongatum) bear little resemblance morphologically to the checkered beetles or soft-winged flower beetles (such as the familiar Malachius species). In most species the larvae develop in woody plants where they are predators on other insects, but the adults are usually encountered in nearby flowery grasslands or on trees where they feed on pollen and nectar and search for prey. In contrast, the Trogositidae spend most of their lives on or under bark feeding either on fungi or preying on bark beetle larvae. The Malachiidae are the most conspicuous as they can be abundant in suitable flower-rich habitats, but through May and early June the brightly-coloured Trichodes species (Cleridae) can also be frequent on flowers.

Identification of the checkered beetles in Greece is possible thanks to the publication of a comprehensive review (Gerstmeir, R. 1998) but unfortunately identification of the Dasytidae and Malachiidae in the Eastern Mediterranean is far from straightforward and most genera are under taxonomic revision. To date, published keys exist for the dasytid genera of Danacea (Liberti 2009), Dasyticus (Majer 1988), Dasytidius (Majer 1989a), Enicopus (Liberti & Constantin 2009) and Schilskyana (Majer 1989b), whilst Constantin & Liberti (2011) is an excellent illustrated key to the French fauna that includes many of the species that can be found in Greece. There is, unfortunately, nothing comparable for the Malachiidae. Many species can be identified using Lompe's online keys but some genera are not fully covered. Similarly, there is no key to the Trogositidae of Greece, but the nine species known from the country are distinctive and Lompe's key will allow identification to species level [and Kolibáč's world review (2013) has excellent plates].


Given the difficulties of identification it is inevitable that there is still some uncertainty regarding the Cleroidea species recorded from Thásos. Karnozickij (1959) recorded five species in 1942-43 but his specimens of Danacea pallipes [thought to be unlikely in Greece (
Liberti 2009)] need to be checked in light of recent taxonomic advances. Karnozickij also records Henicopus pilosus from the island but this species is not known from Greece and it is probable that his record refers to Enicopus ater, which is a very common species in lowland habitats. I have found Dasytes subaeneus on Thásos, and the other two species he recorded, Trichodes favarius and Anthocomus rufus, are both very plausible elements of the island's fauna but there have been no further reports since. Brian Levey (pers. comm.) reported the clerid Denops albofasciatus from Pefkari in July 1982 and Liberti (2009) confirmed specimens of Danacea iners collected on the island in 1989 and 1990. I have recorded twenty-three species (marked with an * in the Checklist below), along with several as yet unidentified taxa. With the exception of Danacea iners, which is an abundant species throughout the island in May, and Dasytes subaeneus the other twenty-one species are newly recorded for Thásos, making a total of 26 identified Cleroidea species.
 

The taxonomic uncertainty surrounding much of the Greek Malachiidae and Dastyidae fauna means that it is impossible at this stage to gauge how many Cleroidea species might be present on Thásos. Liberti (1988) has published an account (which I have not seen) of the Dasytidae of the southern Aegean island of Santorini, but I am not aware of any other comparable literature on the Greek islands.

 I am grateful to Brian Levey, Piero Leo and Paul Whitehead for help with identification.

CHECKLIST

Cleridae
Denops albofasciatus (Charpentier, 1825)
Opilo domesticus (Sturm 1837) *
Thanasimus formicarius (Linnaeus, 1758) *
Trichodes apiarius (Linnaeus, 1758) *
Trichodes favarius (Illiger, 1802)
Trichodes punctatus Fischer von Waldheim, 1829 *

 

Dasytidae
Aplocnemus virens (Suffrian, 1843) *
Aplocnemus cf. impressus (Marsham, 1802) *
Danacea iners Kiesenwetter, 1859 *
Dasytes obscurus Gyllenhal, 1813 *

Dasytes subaeneus Schönherr, 1817
Dolichosoma simile (Brullé, 1832) *
Enicopus ater (Fabricius, 1787) *


Malachiidae
Anthocomus fasciatus (Linnaeus, 1758) *
Anthocomus rufus (Herbst, 1784)
Axinotarsus marginalis (Cast., 1840) *
Ceratistes dilaticornis (Germar, 1824) *
Clanoptilus spinipennis (Germar, 1824) *
Colotes maculatus (Laporte de Castelnau, 1836) *
Ebaeus coerulescens Erichson, 1840 *
Haplomalachius flabellatus (Frivaldzsky, 1835) *
Malachius aeneus (Linnaeus, 1758) *
Malachius coccineus Waltl, 1838 *
Malachius mariae Abeille de Perrin, 1885 *

Micrinus sp. *


Trogositidae
Nemozoma elongatum (Linnaeus, 1761) *
Temnoscheila caerulea (A.G. Olivier, 1790) *

 

 

Unconfirmed records:

Danacea pallipes (Panzer, 1793) recorded by Karnozickij in 1943 must be regarded as doubtful as Liberti (2009) is not aware of any reliable records from the Balkans.

 

 

REFERENCES

 

Constantin, R. & Liberti, G. 2011. Coleopteres Dasytidae de France. Societe linneenne de Lyon.

Gerstmeir, R. 1998. Checkered beetles: illustrated key to the Cleridae and Thanerocleridae of the Western Palaearctic. Margraf Verlog, Weikersheim, Germany.

Karnozickij, N. 1959. Materialien zur Koleopteren-Fauna der Agäischen Küste und Insel Thasos. Izv. zool. Inst. Sof., 8: 237-253.

Kolibáč, J. 2013. Trogossitidae: A review of the beetle family, with a catalogue and keys. Zookeys, 366: 1–194.

Liberti, G. 1988. The fauna of the Aegean island of Thira. VIII. Dasytidae (Coleoptera). Giornale Italiano di Entomologia, 4: 11–15.

Liberti, G. 2009. The Danacea of the Balkan Peninsula. A revision (Coleoptera Dasytidae). Memorie della Societe Entomologica Italiana, 88: 17-116.

Liberti, G. & Constantin, R. 2009. The Enicopus Stephens, 1830 species east of the Iberian peninsula: E. ater (Fabricius, 1787) and E. pilosus (Scopoli, 1763) (Coleoptera, Dasytidae). Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova, 100: 293-321.

Majer, K. 1988. A revision of the genus Dasyticus Kiesenwetter, 1859 (Col. Melyridae, Dasytinae). Mitteilungen der Münchner Entomologischen Gesellschaft, 078: 127-154.

Majer, K. 1989a. The genus Dasytidius Schilsky, 1896: species from Turkey and the Balkans (Coleoptera, Melyridae). Acta Entomologica Bohemoslovaca, 86: 137-155.

Majer, K. 1989b. A Revision of the Genus Haplothrix Schisky, 1896 (Col. Melyridae). Mitteilungen der Münchner Entomologischen Gesellschaft, 079: 31-46.