The Biology and external Morphology of the Larvae of Epilachninae (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae)
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 July 2009
The Epilachninae constitute one-sixth of the known species of the family Coccinellidae. They are herbivorous and include a number of well known pests of cultivated plants in different parts of the world. Their adults present a great uniformity of external structure, with the result that nearly all the known species have been placed in one genus, Epilachna Hope. Their identification is made more difficult by the employment of characters such as the elytral markings and spots which may vary a great deal in one species or be almost identical in two quite unrelated species. Lately, there has been a tendency to split the genus by employing more reliable morphological characters, including genitalia. A greater knowledge of the biology and morphology, including that of the immature stages, particularly the larvae, is necessary to evolve a natural classification. Relatively little was known of the larvae. This paper deals with 14 species belonging to six different genera.
In addition to discussion of the relationship of this subfamily with other Coccinellidae in the light of the extensive larval material examined, it is observed that larvae belonging to different genera, including those recently erected or revived, show considerable morphological differences that support a division of Epilachna (s.l.) based on adult characters. A study of the larvae of nine species that are still retained in the genus Epilachna shows that they are separable into several groups, which may well indicate where further division of the genus may be made.
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