Systematics, Evolution and Taxonomy of Leptolycini (Coleoptera, Lycidae)

A male of Leptolycus (Baholycus) sp. (Coleoptera, Lycidae, Leptolycini) from Loma de blanco, Bonao, Republica Dominicana. Image source: Carlos de Soto Molinari.

The Leptolycini is a group of paedomorphic beetles endemic to the West Indies. Members of this group are characterized by possessing adult females that lack the characters that define the adult form of a beetle: compound eyes, wings, elytra, 11 antennomeres, ovipositor and a multi-segmented tarsus. These extreme paedomorphic adult females are often termed “larviform” females, and in most cases, the status of a given individual as an adult or larvae is not really known.

Larviform typ1
Adult Leptolycini female? (type 1) collected in the El Verde Field Station, El Yunque, Puerto Rico.

larviform typ2
Adult Leptolycini female? (type 2) collected in the El Verde Field Station, El Yunque, Puerto Rico.

In contrast, males of these sexually dimorphic species have all the normal adult characters and are immediately identifiable as a beetle. My current research is focused in unraveling the high diversity in this sexually dimorphic case of extreme paedomorphic beetles. A taxonomic revision, association of males/females and a species level phylogeny of the group is currently in progress.

Leptolycus (Baholycus) flavoapicalis Bocák, 2001.
Leptolycus (Baholycus) flavoapicalis Bocák, 2001.

Related publications

  1. Ferreira, V.S. & Ivie, M.A. 2017. The First Fossil Species of the Extant Genus Cessator Kazantsev (Coleoptera: Lycidae): A New Leptolycini from Dominican Amber. The Coleopterists Bulletin, 71(1):57-60.

Revision and Phylogeny of Thonalmus Bourgeois (Lycidae)

The genus Thonalmus is one of the most conspicuous and recognizable lycid beetles in the world, and probably the most studied genus among the Neotropical groups. The sole genus in its tribe, Thonalmini, and with a unique morphology and bright colors, the taxonomy and systematics at species-level is chaotic, and to the moment it identification of most species within the genus is impossible.

Thonalmus edited 2
Thonalmus militaris (Dalman)

A taxonomic revision, molecular species-level phylogeny, as well as the diversification rates for the group is currently in production.

In addition to my PhD research I have the following research projects:

1) Taxonomic Revision of Calochromini (Lycidae, Lycinae), with focus on the New World genera 

Related publications:

  1. Ferreira, V.S. 2016. A revision of the genus Macrolygistopterus Pic, 1929 (Coleoptera, Lycidae). Zootaxa, 4105: 321-338.
  2. Ferreira, V.S., and Ivie, M.A. 2018. A Review of the Nearctic Genus Lucaina Dugès, 1879 (Coleoptera: Lycidae: Lycinae: Calochromini), with Descriptions of Two New Species. The Coleopterists Bulletin, 72(3):393-406. 

2) Biology, Systematics and Taxonomy of New World Lycidae (Insecta, Coleoptera) 

Related publications:

  1. Ferreira, V.S. & Costa, C. 2015. A description of the Larva of Metapteron xanthomelas (Lucas, 1857) from the Restinga Forest of Southeastern Brazil (Coleoptera: Lycidae, Calopterini). Zootaxa, 3915: 295-300.
  2. Ferreira, V. S. 2015. A new species of Acroleptus Bourgeois (Coleoptera: Lycidae) from the Brazilian Amazonian rainforest, with a note on its homonymy with Acroleptus Cabanis (Aves). Zootaxa, 3949: 297-300.
  3. Ferreira, V.S. 2016. A new species of Falsocaenia Pic, 1922 from Amazonian Rainforest (Coleoptera: Lycidae) with an updated key to the species. Zootaxa, 4105: 497-499.
  4. Ferreira, V.S. & Ivie, M.A. 2016 Redescription of Cephalolycus Pic, 1926 (Coleoptera: Elateroidea: Lycidae) and a Discussion on Its Taxonomic Position. The Coleopterists Bulletin, 70(3): 663-666.
  5. Ferreira, V.S., Barclay, M.V.L. and Ivie, M.A. 2018. Redescription of Aporrhipis Pascoe, 1887 (Coleoptera: Lycidae) With a Discussion of its Tribal Placement. The Coleopterists Bulletin, 72(2):371-375.
  6. Ferreira, V.S. and Ivie. 2018. A Revision of Lycinella Gorham, 1884 with the Description of six New Species (Coleoptera, Lycidae, Calopterini). Zookeys 792: 69-89. 
  7. Ferreira, V.S. and Silveira, L.F.L. A New Paedomorphic Genus of Net-Winged Beetles from the Atlantic Rainforest (Coleoptera, Elateroidea, Lycidae). Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia. v.60.special-issue: e202060(s.i.).35. 
  8. Ferreira, V.S. 2020. Revision of Acroleptus Bourgeois, 1886 and Descriptions of New Aporrhipis Species (Lycidae, Calopterini, Acroleptina). Journal of Natural History. 53:45-46, 2739-2756.

2) Revision of the World Omethidae (Coleoptera, Elateroidea)

3) Revision of the family Cneoglossidae Guérin-Méneville, 1843 (Coleoptera, Byrrhoidea) 

I am also interested in the taxonomy of other families of Elateroidea and Byrrhoidea, including Cerophytidae, Phengodidae and Lampyridae and other odd balls within these superfamilies. See a full list of publications here.

4) Evolution and systematics of paedomorphic Lampyridae

Related publications:

1. Ferreira, V.S., Keller, O., Branham, M.A. and Ivie, M.A. Molecular Data Support the Placement of the Enigmatic Cheguevaria Kazantsev as a subfamily of Lampyridae (Insecta: Coleoptera). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 

2. Ferreira, V.S., Keller, O. and Branham, M.A. Multilocus Phylogeny Support the Non-Bioluminescent Firefly Chespirito as a New Subfamily in the Lampyridae (Coleoptera: Elateroidea). Insect Systematics and Diversity. 4(6): 1−13. 

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