Submitted to: Memoirs on Entomology, International
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Aphthona is one of the largest and most morphologically diverse genera of flea beetles (Alticinae), containing more than 50 available species names. The majority of Aphthona species, both larval and adult stages, feed on Euphorbiaceae which, along with the tendency towards monophagy, makes them ideal candidates for use in the biological control of leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula). Unfortunately, biological control specialists are prevented from fully utilizing the pest regulation potential of Aphthona species due to our limited knowledge of the systematics of the group. This study presents a new, phylogenetic classification of the tribe Aphthonini and a revision of 105 Palearctic species of Aphthona which contains detailed study of morphology, host plants, geographical distribution and a key to the Palearctic species of Aphthona. Each species entry also includes a description of adult morphology and citation of the most valuable literature. This study will be important to taxonomists, ecologists and persons involved in all aspects of the Aphthona/leafy spurge biological control project.
Ninety-six species are redescribed. Twenty-one new synonyms are recognized. Keys to the genera of Aphthonini and the Palearctic species of Aphthona are provided. A compendium of the history of the higher classification of Alticinae, especially of the tribe Aphthonini, is presented. Monophyly of Aphthonini and Aphthona is shown through cladistic analyses of morphological characters among Aphthonini genera. Discussion is provided for morphological characters, hypothesized relationships, and taxonomic decisions.