Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




Regional Maps


Cupedids, Ommatids

Compiler and date details

2000 - Updated by Andrew A. Calder, CSIRO Entomology & W.W.K. Houston, ABRS, Canberra, ACT, Australia

1987 - J.F. Lawrence, T.A. Weir and J.E. Pyke, CSIRO Entomology


As usually understood, the suborder Archostemata includes the recent families Crowsoniellidae, Cupedidae, Ommatidae (including Tetraphaleridae) and Micromalthidae, as well as a number of extinct groups from the Permian and Mesozoic (Crowson 1976; Ponomarenko 1969; Lawrence 1999). Crowson (1975) has suggested, however, that the Lower Permian and Upper Permian fossils be placed in the suborders Protocoleoptera and Archecoleoptera, respectively. It is also possible that some Mesozoic fossils attributed to Archostemata may represent early Myxophaga or Polyphaga (Crowson 1975; Lawrence & Newton 1982).

In early classifications, Cupedidae was usually placed in Serricornia (roughly equivalent to Elateriformia) (LeConte & Horn 1883) or Adephaga (Kolbe 1901; Ganglbauer 1903; Lameere 1903). The term Archostemata was first used by Kolbe (1908) as a subgroup of his Heterophaga (equivalent to Polyphaga in modern classifications), but Forbes (1926) and Böving & Craighead (1931) elevated the taxon to the rank of suborder and included the family Micromalthidae. The inclusion of Micromalthidae is based on substantial evidence from both larvae and adults (Lawrence & Newton, 1982), but some modern authors still place the family in Polyphaga (Arnett 1968; Hennig 1981; Klausnitzer 1975; Machatschke 1962).

The relationships of the four Recent suborders are still in dispute, but the most commonly accepted hypothesis is that of Crowson (1955, 1960), which recognized three ancestral stocks: Archostemata, Adephaga and Myxophaga plus Polyphaga. Machatschke (1962) and Klausnitzer (1975) considered the Archostemata (excluding the Micromalthidae) to be the sister group of the remaining Coleoptera and Adephaga to be the sister group of Myxophaga-Polyphaga. Ponomarenko (1971) suggested that present-day Archostemata and Polyphaga are sister groups, as are Myxophaga and Adephaga. Lawrence & Newton (1982) suggested that the Archostemata, Myxophaga and Adephaga may form a monophyletic group based on wing-folding type and lack of cervical sclerites; the absence of a basal piece on the aedeagus may represent an additional synapomorphy for the group.


The updating of the Archostemata database for the web, derived from the Zoological Catalogue of Australia database, was supported by funds from the Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) to A.A. Calder which is gratefully acknowledged. I am also indebted to Dr Keith Houston for editorial advice. This work was produced using the taxonomic-bibliographic software package Platypus that was developed by the Australian Biological Resources Study.

The preparation and data entry for this database was conducted in CSIRO Entomology, Canberra and use of the Organisation's resources and facilities particularly computing resources is gratefully acknowledged.

Database Notes

The information on the Australian Faunal Directory site for the Archostemata 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 was updated by Andrew Calder and Keith Houston.

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

Arnett, R.H. 1968. The Beetles of the United States. (A Manual for Identification). Ann Arbor : American Entomological Institute xii 1112 pp.

Böving, A.G. & Craighead, F.C. 1931. An illustrated synopsis of the principal larval forms of the Coleoptera. Entomologica Americana 11: 1-351

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

Crowson, R.A. 1975. The evolutionary history of Coleoptera, as documented by fossil and comparative evidence. pp. 47–90 in, Atti X Congr. Naz. Ital. Entomol..

Crowson, R.A. 1976. The systematic position and implications of Crowsoniella. Bollettino del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Verona 2(1975): 459-463

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

Ganglbauer, L. 1903. Systematisch-Koleopterologische Studien. Münchner koleopterologische Zeitschrift 1: 271-319

Hennig, W. 1981. Insect Phylogeny. Chichester : Wiley 514 pp.

Klausnitzer, B. 1975. Probleme der Abgrenzung von Unterordnungenbei den Coleoptera. Entomologische Abhandlungen. Staatliches Museum für Tierkunde Dresden 40: 269-275

Kolbe, H.J. 1901. Vergleichend-morphologische Untersuchungen an Coleopteren nebst Grundlagen zu einem System und zur Systematik derselben. Arch. Naturv. Christiania 47(Beiheft): 89-150 pls 2-3

Kolbe, H.J. 1908. Mein System der Coleopteren. Zeitschrift für Wissenschaftliche Insektenbiologie 13: 116-123, 153-162, 219-226,246-251, 286-2

Lameere, A. 1903. Nouvelles notes pour la classification de Coléoptères. Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique (Comptes-rendus) 47: 155-165

Lawrence, J.F., Weir, T.A. & Pyke, J.E. 1987. Suborder Archostemata. pp. 6-12 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

LeConte, J.L. & Horn, G.H. 1883. Classification of the Coleoptera of North America. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 507: xxxvii 567 pp.

Machatschke, J.W. 1962. Bemerkungen zum System der Coleoptera. Tagungsberichte der Deutschen. Akademie der Landwirtschaftswissenschaften zu Berlin 45: 121-137

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


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)