Submitted to: ZooKeys
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/7/2012
Publication Date: 5/17/2012
Citation: Erwin, T.L., White, W.H. 2012. The Nearctic-Caribbean species Leptotrachelus dorsalis (Fabricius, 1801): Larval descriptions with a diagnosis of immature Ctenodactylini and natural history notes on the genus and tribe (Coleoptera: Carabidae). ZooKeys. 194:17-32. Interpretive Summary: Recent success in laboratory rearings of the carabid ground beetle, Leptotrachelus dorsalis, has allowed an insect taxonomist to eliminate confusion in the differentiation of two tribes of carabid beetles found within the ground beetle family. Earlier work by taxonomists combined individuals from two unrelated tribes and therefore subsequent mixed morphological descriptions were used for multiple species resulting in confusing literature. We were able to provide descriptions of immature L. dorsalis individuals and compare these to another species within the tribe and demonstrate the differences between the two tribes previously confused. There are now two confirmed described larval forms representing two genera in the Leptotrachelus tribal lineage of 16 genera worldwide. This ground beetle, Leptotrachelus dorsalis, commonly referred to as the Sugarcane Savior Beetle, has the potential to be an important biological control agent of the Sugarcane Borer in sugarcane and our taxonomic study will allow researchers to sort out conflicting species of closely related individuals that may cause confusion and therefore erroneous conclusions in further research on rearings and biological control evaluations.
Technical Abstract: Adults and larvae of Leptotrachelus dorsalis (Fabricius), live in association with grasses, the larvae in the appressed leaf axils. Both adult and larval L. dorsalis eat larvae of the Sugarcane Borer, Diatraea saccharalis (Fabricius), and perhaps other insects living in the confines of the leaf sheaths of that and other grass-like species. The geographic range of L. dorsalis extends from Kansas in the west to the Atlantic seaboard, north as far as Ontario, Canada and south to Cuba; it is an eastern species of North American and the Caribbean. Larval character attributes that are shared with a related ctenodactyline, Askalaphium depressum (Bates), provide a preliminary basis for characterization of the immatures of tribe Ctenodactylini.