Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




Regional Maps


Dascillids, Rhipicerids

Compiler and date details

31 December 1999 - Andrew A. Calder, CSIRO Entomology, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia


The coleopteran superfamily Dascilloidea is represented worldwide by about 19 genera and 134 species compared to the small Australian fauna of only 2 genera and 8 species. Formerly the Dascilloidea included the families Clambidae, Eucinetidae, Scirtidae (as Helodidae) and Dascillidae (Crowson 1955). The Clambidae, Eucinetidae and Scirtidae were later placed in a new superfamily Eucinetoidea (=Scirtoidea) by Crowson (1960) based on both larval and adult characters. The Rhipiceridae, that had previously been placed by Crowson (1955) in the superfamily Rhipiceroidea with Callirhipidae on the basis of a large plurisetose empodium and flabellate male antennae, were later (Crowson 1971) united with the Dascillidae in the Dascilloidea.

A relationship between the Dascillidae and Rhipiceridae is supported by the following adult characters: mandibles without a distinct molar area, strongly projecting prothoracic hypomera and a similar type of prothoracic interlocking device, open procoxal cavities, a prosternal process that is not received in a mesosternal pit, a hind wing with a short radial cell and a closed anal (wedge) cell, similar type of wing folding, a metendosternite without sclerotised arms, a simple trilobe type of aedeagus, malpighian tubules that are free, and presence of functional spiracles on the 8th abdominal segment (Crowson 1971; Lawrence & Britton 1994). Dascilloids have soil-dwelling larvae and short-lived, surface-active adults.

Both families are represented in Australia, although the dascillid subfamily Karumiinae (sometimes regarded as a family) is not found in Australia. Crowson (1971) was the first to recognise the dascilloid affinities of the Karumiinae. Emden (1931) has revised the Rhipiceridae and provided a key to the species. Lawrence & Britton (1994) provide keys to the families of adults and larvae for the Australian fauna and Matthews (1984) gives a pictorial key to those families found in South Australia.


The project that culminated in the production of this database was supported by a grant from the Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) which is gratefully acknowledged. I am also indebted to Drs Keith Houston and Alice Wells, scientific editors for their editorial advice. This work was produced using the taxonomic-bibliographic software package Platypus that was developed by the Australian Biological Resources Study. Neil Fitzsimmons, Interim Technology (formerly CP Consulting) and Steve Shattuck, CSIRO Entomology are particularly thanked for their assistance in the use of Platypus. Dr John Lawrence and Tom Weir are thanked for reviewing an earlier draft of this database and providing useful suggestions.

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

I particularly thank the staff of the CSIRO Black Mountain Library for their help in locating the many obscure references encountered in the compilation of this Catalogue and for their patience in processing innumerable requests for inter-library loans, many from overseas so that the original bibliographic reference could be verified.

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.


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)