Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A beetle and a coin

A species Trigonopselaphus Gemminger and Harold next to one $1c coin. For European readers, the size of the coin is between the size of 1c and 2c Euros. Some of the species in this genus are among the largest of all Staphylinidae with total length in excess of 20mm. Perhaps some Platydracus or Tasgius are larger than this, but not by much.

When I started working on this review, I thought (naively) that due to their size it will be an easy review (easy to find specimens in museums and easy to see the characters). I have been wrong on both accounts, with just a handful of specimens among major museums and almost zero variation of character traits between species. You would think that in a >20mm beast you would not have to count punctures or setae, but...

Stephen J. Gould had written once (don't remember the specific Natural History essay) that when mammals become very large they all tend to look alike and I start to believe that this may be the case for rove beetles as well.