Morphology of a new blister beetle (Coleoptera, Meloidae) larval type challenges the evolutionary trends of phoresy-related characters in the genus Meloe
AbstractThe discovery of some specimens of a new first instar larval type in blister beetles, collected in Iran on Anthophora bees, confirms the existence of repetitive and parallel trends in morphological specialization to phoresy in distinct lineages of Meloidae and in particular in the subfamily Meloinae. The new Iranian larva, herein described and illustrated, shows several characters and a peculiar phoretic strategy that closely parallel that of the Meloe subgenus Lampromeloe, with similar modifications of the fronto-clypeal setae into strong lanceolate spines used to pierce the intersegmental membranes of the bees. Both parallel and shared derived evolution of these characters seem possible. The coexistence in this larva of characters in both primitive and derived state is of particular interest in order to analyse the different rates and trends of evolution of phoretic adaptations. A morphological comparison (SEM) of this new meloine larva (incertae sedis), tentatively assignable to Meloe, with the M. (Lampromeloe) larvae is carried out in order to discuss the evolutionary implications of its placement in Lampromeloe, and the relative characters that would support it, vs other possible alternative scenarios.
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Copyright (c) 2014 A. Di Giulio, M. Carosi, R. Khodaparast, M.A. Bologna
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