Form elongate oval. Labrum produced weakly beyond apex of clypeus (except in Anomalacra [Anomalini]). Antenna with 9 or 10 segments, antennal club with 3 segments. Scutellum exposed. Anterior coxae transverse. Mesotibial apex with 2 spurs; spurs mesad, adjacent (not separated by basal metatarsal segment). Tarsal claws on all legs independently movable, claws unequal in length or size and frequently weakly split at apex, 1 claw of each pair greatly reduced (1 claw lacking on all legs in Leptohoplia [Anomalini]). Onychium laterally flattened. Pygidium exposed beyond apices of elytra. References: Ohaus 1934, Machatschke 1957, Machatschke 1965.
MacLeay (1819) proposed the family Rutelidae for taxa previously included in the genus Scarabaeus Linneaus. Since Blanchard (1851) the group has been referred to as a subfamily of Scarabaeidae. Some workers regard the group as a family or as a subfamily of Melolonthidae. We follow Machatschke (1972) and Lawrence and Newton (1995) and regard the Rutelinae as a subfamily of the Scarabaeidae. Tribal classification of the subfamily is stable, but some tribes may be paraphyletic (i.e., Rutelini [see Jameson 1998]). The ruteline tribe Anomalini is occasionally regarded as a subfamily of Scarabaeidae (i.e., Potts 1974, 1977a, 1977b) or a subfamily of Melolonthidae (i.e., Sabatinelli 1991). In addition, Hoplia and its congeners have occasionally been included as a tribe (Hopliini) and included the Rutelinae (i.e., Baraud 1985). Subtribal classification of the subfamily is, in many cases, based on diverse assemblages of taxa, and many subtribes are not monophyletic. Phylogenies for the Scarabaeoidea hypothesize three differing views for the relationship of the Rutelinae: 1) that the subfamily Dynastinae is ancestral to the Rutelinae, 2) that the Dynastinae and Rutelinae are sister groups, or 3) that the subfamilies are possible sister groups and that their relationships remain unresolved (Endrödi 1966; Howden 1982; Iablokoff-Khnzorian 1977; Meinecke 1975; Scholtz and Chown 1995).
The subfamily Rutelinae is composed of approximately 200 genera and 4,100 species that are distributed worldwide (Machatschke 1972), although many taxa remain to be described. The subfamily is divided into six tribes, five of which occur in the New World. The tribe Spodochlamyini is found only in Central and South America; the tribe Anoplognathini occurs in the Australia and western Central and South America; the tribe Geniatini is distributed in Central and South America; the tribe Rutelini is widely distributed but is most speciose in the Neotropics; the tribe Anomalini is widely distributed and is most speciose in the Old World. The tribe Adoretini is exclusively distributed in the Old World. In the New World, the subfamily includes about 95 genera. Keys to genera and species: Casey 1915; Cooper 1983; Jameson 1990, 1997. Keys to larvae: Ritcher 1966; Jameson et al. 1994, Jameson 1997. United States catalog: Hardy 1991. Mexico, Central and South America catalog: Blackwelder 1944. World catalog: Machatschke 1972.
New World Tribes
Characteristics: Labrum horizontally produced with respect to the clypeus. Antennae with 9 segments. Protibiae bidentate (rarely unidentate or tridentate), inner protibial spur subapical (lacking in Leptohoplia); foretarsomeres not enlarged or densely setose ventrally. Elytra with membranous border at lateral margin. Terminal spiracle not positioned in pleural suture.
The tribe Anomalini includes one of the largest genera in the Animal Kingdom: the genus Anomala, which includes approximately 1,000 species worldwide. Adult anomalines feed primarily on flowers and floral parts. Larvae feed primarily on plant roots. One introduced member of the tribe, Popillia japonica Newman, causes economic damage to agricultural crops and ornamental plants. Despite the agricultural importance of some members, the tribe is poorly known taxonomically and in desperate need of revisionary studies. The tribe includes 11 genera in the New World. Keys: Cooper 1983; Potts 1974, 1977a, 1977b. Key to larvae: Ritcher 1966.
Characteristics: Labrum vertically produced with respect to the clypeus, with apicomedial projection. Mentum lacking apical tooth or projection. Antennae with 9 or 10 segments. Terminal spiracle positioned in pleural suture.
The tribe Anoplognathini is distributed in the southern hemisphere. Members are found in Australia (some members are commonly called Christmas beetles) and from central Mexico to southern South America. In the New World, the tribe includes five genera (Aulacopalpus, Brachysternus, Hylamorpha, Phalangogonia, and Platycoelia). Keys: Smith 2003.
Characteristics: Labrum vertically produced with respect to the clypeus, with apicomedial projection. Antennae with 10 segments. Protibiae tridentate, inner protibial spur apical; foretarsomeres usually enlarged in males and/or females and densely setose ventrally. Elytral margin chitinous or membranous. Terminal spiracle positioned in pleural suture.
The tribe Geniatini is exclusively a Neotropical group of beetles. Little is known of the natural history of the group. Members inhabit deciduous forests and cloud forests, and some adults are attracted to lights at night. In the new World, the tribe includes about 12 poorly studied genera. Keys: Machatschke 1965; Villatoro and Jameson 2001; Jameson and Hawkins 2005.
Characteristics: Labrum horizontally produced with respect to the clypeus. Antennae with 10 segments (8 or 9 in Parachrysina). Protibiae tridentate, inner protibial spur apical; foretarsomeres not enlarged or densely setose ventrally. Elytral margin entirely chitinous. Terminal spiracle positioned in pleural suture.
The tribe Rutelini is distributed worldwide but is most speciose in the Neotropics. A wide array of morphological forms is exhibited by members of the tribe including taxa with enlarged, horn-like mandibles (Fruhstorferia from Asia), backward-projecting thoracic horns (Peperonota from Asia), enlarged hind femora (Heterosternus and Chrysina from the New World), and strikingly-colored, metallic silver and gold beetles (Plusiotis from the New World). Exemplar genera in the tribe include Pelidnota, Macraspis (both of which are most diverse in Central and South America), and Parastasia (most diverse in the Old World with one species in the New World). The tribe includes over 70 genera in the New World. Keys: Cooper 1983; Jameson 1990; Jameson in prep. Keys to larvae: Ritcher 1966; Jameson et al. 1994; Jameson 1997. Catalog to Pelidnota and related genera. Overview to Heterosternina.
Characteristics: Labrum vertically produced with respect to the clypeus, lacking apicomedial projection. Antennae with 10 segments. Protibiae tridentate, inner protibial spur apical; foretarsomeres not enlarged or densely setose ventrally. Elytral margin entirely chitinous. Terminal spiracle positioned in pleural suture.
The tribe Spodochlamyini is a small, Neotropical group that includes four genera. Members of the group are distributed primarily in cloud forest habitats in northernern South America. Adults are attracted to lights at night. Keys: Machatschke 1965.
Adult rutelines are phytophagous and feed on leaves, flowers, or flower parts. Larvae feed on roots, compost, and decaying vegetation. Some taxa, such as Popillia japonica Newman and Anomala species (both Anomalini), are agricultural pests. The common name of the subfamily, the shining leaf chafers, reflects the fact that many members of the subfamily are brightly colored, beautifully patterned, and often brilliantly metallic leaf-feeding beetles. Others in the subfamily, such as the genus Anomala, are small, obscure beetles. Adults may aid in pollination of plants.
Despite the potential agricultural importance of some rutelines, few ruteline larvae have been described. Larvae typically feed on decaying wood, compost, or roots. Ritcher (1966) characterized the North American ruteline larvae as follows: Mandibles with stridulatory area consisting of transverse ridges. Maxilla with row of anteriorly directed, sharp, pointed, stridulatory teeth; lacinia with 1-3 unci. Epipharynx with haptomerum, with or without plegmata, without proplegmata, two nesia usually present; haptomerum with two or more prominent heli (beak-like or mound-like) and with 15 or more prominent spine-like setae. Dorsal surface of abdominal segments 9 and 10 never fused. Raster with or without palidia; anal slit transverse, slightly curved. Claws each bearing 2 setae. Keys to genera: Jameson et al. 1994.
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