Monday, December 10, 2007 - 9:41 AM

Sacred systematics: Phylogeny and classification of Noviini (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)

Juanita A. Forrester, and Joseph V. McHugh, University of Georgia, Department of Entomology, 413 Biological Sciences Building, Athens, GA

When early Catholic farmers prayed for deliverance from aphids and other injurious pests, they were convinced that the colorful, dappled insects that saved their crops were sent directly from the heavens. They called these “The Beetles of Our Lady,” and ladybeetles have been harbingers of good luck ever since. Coccinellid systematics has advanced significantly since those times, but classification of lady beetles is still problematic, largely due to ambiguous generic definitions that are not based on synapomorphy. In this study phylogenetic relationships of the tribe Noviini were inferred based on adult morphology. A parsimony analysis was conducted using 40 characters that were scored for 30 noviine exemplars and 4 outgroup taxa. Implications of the phylogenetic hypothesis are discussed with respect to generic boundaries and the classification of Noviini.

Species 1: Coleoptera Coccinellidae Rodolia cardinalis (Vedalia beetle)
Species 2: Coleoptera Coccinellidae Novius
Species 3: Coleoptera Coccinellidae Anovia