Location: Sugarcane ResearchTitle: Polymorphism in Languria taedata LeConte, its occurrence in coastal Louisiana Spartina marshes, and clarification of some Motschulsky languriine types (Coleoptera: Erotylidae: Languriinae) Author
Submitted to: Zootaxa
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/26/2012
Publication Date: 3/16/2012
Citation: Gimmel, M.L., Carlton, C.E., White, W.H. 2012. Polymorphism in Languria taedata LeConte, its occurrence in coastal Louisiana Spartina marshes, and clarification of some Motschulsky languriine types (Coleoptera: Erotylidae: Languriinae). Zootaxa. 3237:24-34. Interpretive Summary: Insect invasions are a constant threat to agricultural crops. Many of these invaders are brought in inadvertently by commerce or tourism, while others may spread naturally expanding their range slowly over an extended period of time. This is why researchers must be out surveying cropping ecosystems, and also non-cropping ecosystems for the presence of new insects. While surveying a coastal marsh grass, smooth cord-grass, for economically important stem borers, we collected larvae of an unidentified beetle in addition to several stem borers. Upon rearing the larvae to adulthood, the beetle was identified as being in the family of beetles known as lizard beetles. After closer examination, it appeared that the beetle was a new species of lizard beetle represented in the Louisiana State Arthropod Museum by only a few previously collected individuals that were not associated with a host plant. Following a detailed study of this group on insects it was determined that a new species was not found, but instead, a new form of the species Languria taedata. Although this insect does not appear to be of any economic concern, its appearance does indicate that new species can easily invade the habitat of an important crop from innocuous sources.
Technical Abstract: We clarify the diagnosis and geographic distribution of the widespread, variable eastern coastal species Languria taedata LeConte, 1854, in North America. After examining types and the range of variation and geographical distribution of the species, we propose synonymy of L. erythrocephalus Blatchley, 1924, with L. taedata, new synonymy. We report the discovery of an all-piceous form (“Form C”), the first of the genus, found primarily along the western Gulf Coast of the United States. The recognition of this form requires a modification to the most recent key to North American genera of Languriinae. The larvae of L. taedata feed within the stems of Spartina alterniflora Loisel (Poaceae). We provide additional notes on the occurrence of L. taedata in coastal marshes in Louisiana. The types of L. apicalis Motschulsky, L. nigriceps Motschulsky, L. obscura Motschulsky, and L. rufiventris are reexamined. A revised synonymic checklist is provided for North American Languriini.