Research Interests

Aderidae Systematics

The Aderidae, commonly known as the ant-like leaf beetles, consists of approximately 1,200 species parsed into forty-five genera and inhabit all continents except Antarctica. These beetles are intriguing from a natural history perspective as the majority of species exhibit sexual dimorphism and several inhabit cave systems. The Australian genus Megaxenus Lawrence is especially interesting as the larvae of these beetles live within termite nests and acquire nutrients from the termite workers through oral regurgitations.


The internal phylogeny of the Aderidae is completely unresolved and the current bases for separating the tribes and genera badly need to be reexamined. I am utilizing an integrative taxonomic approach using molecular sequence data and morphological characters of the genera to reconstruct the phylogeny of the group.

For a checklist and photos of aderid genera, please click here.

For bibliographic references of the Aderidae, please click here

 

Sexual Dimorphism & Diversification

Sexually dimorphic characters such as metafemoral hairs and antennal modifications have traditionally and recurrently been used to define subfamilies, tribes, and subtribes in the classification of the Aderidae. Unfortunately, these characters have resulted in taxonomic confusion as the metafemoral hairs are often sexually dimorphic, but can also appear as sexually monomorphic within species. Have the sexually dimorphic metafemoral hairs arisen once or multiple times? How has the shape of metafemoral hairs evolved? Has dimorphism evolved through the gain of hairs in males or the loss of hairs in females? I will be using the most strongly supported phylogeny of the family to address these questions through ancestral character state reconstructions.

Additionally, I wil be performing diversification analyses to evaluate whether or not sexual dimorphism has led to an increase in the overall diversification (speciation - extinction) of aderid lineages.

 

Contact Information

Traci L. Grzymala
University of California, Berkeley
130 Mulfrod Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
mala@berkeley.edu