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Key words: Curculionoidea, South America, dichotomous key. RESUMEN

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Key words: Curculionoidea, South America, dichotomous key.


Los gorgojos (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea) de América del Sur se clasifican actualmente en las siguientes familias y subfamilias: Nemonychidae (Rhinorhynchinae), Anthribidae (Anthribinae), Belidae (Belinae y Oxycoryninae), Attelabidae (Attelabinae y Rhynchitinae), Brentidae (Apioninae y Brentinae), Caridae (Carinae) y Curculionidae (Erirhininae, Dryophthorinae, Entiminae, Aterpinae, Gonipterinae, Rhythirrininae, Thecesterninae, Eugnominae, Hyperinae, Curculioninae, Cryptorhynchinae, Mesoptiliinae (= Magdalidinae), Molytinae, Baridinae, Lixinae, Conoderinae (= Zygopinae), Cossoninae, Scolytinae y Platypodinae). En la presente contribución se brinda una clave dicotómica para la identificación de las siete familias y 28 subfamilias de Curculionoidea sudamericanos, y para varias (21) tribus de Curculioninae y Molytinae. Estas tribus son Curculionini, Anthonomini, Ceutorhynchini, Derelomini, Otidocephalini, Erodiscini, Camarotini, Piazorhinini, Prionobrachiini, Smicronychini, Rhamphini y Tychiini, dentro de Curculioninae, e Hylobiini, Pissodini, Conotrachelini, Cleogonini, Sternechini, Pacholenini, Cholini, Petalochilini y Amalactini, dentro de Molytinae. La mayoría de estas tribus han sido clasificadas como subfamilias en los esquemas tradicionales. La clave se basa principalmente en caracteres morfológicos externos, e incluye además datos de la genitalia, piezas bucales, y rasgos biológicos de las especies. El trabajo provee definiciones e ilustraciones de los caracteres diagnósticos utilizados en la clave.

Palabras clave: Curculionoidea, Sudamérica, clave dicotómica.


The weevils are beetles of the superfamily Curculionoidea, mostly phythophagous as both, adult and larval stages. They comprise about 60,000 described species gathered in 6,000 genera. Approximately 10,000 species occur in South America, assigned to about 1,000 genera (Wibmer & O'Brien 1986, Alonso-Zarazaga & Lyal 1999).

The current classification of weevils is under continuous revision, due to new characters provided by adult and larval morphology, the addition of molecular data, and the analysis of this information applying a phylogenetic approach, such as those of Thompson (1992), Zimmerman (1993, 1994a, 1994b), Kuschel (1995), Lawrence & Newton (1995), Marvaldi & Morrone (2000) and Marvaldi et al. (2002). The majority of recent classificatory schemes agree in the circumscription of the main higher groups of Curculionoidea, but they differ in the assignment of ranks and/or the evaluation of the monophyletic status of some heterogeneous subfamilies and tribes.

Keys available for the identification of higher taxa of Curculionoidea are either no updated according to the new classificatory schemes (Costa-Lima 1956), and/or were designed for taxa occurring in geographical latitudes out of South America (Morimoto 1962a, Kissinger 1964, Anderson 2002). A key to identify Argentinian weevils published by Morrone & Posadas (1998) is mostly suitable for taxa at family rank, and the key for South American weevil families and subfamilies published by Marvaldi (2003) is for the larval stage exclusively, and thus complementary of the present key for adults.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a key to identify the families and subfamilies of South American Curculionoidea, and several tribes of the highly heterogeneous subfamilies Curculioninae and Molytinae (Curculionidae), using adult morphological characters.

The identification of genera and species of South American Curculionoidea can be accomplished by using the keys and taxonomic revisions cited in O'Brien & Wibmer (1981, 1984), Wibmer & O'Brien (1986, 1989), Wood (1986), Morrone & Posadas (1998), Alonso-Zarazaga & Lyal (1999), Morrone (1999), Anderson (2002), Lanteri et al. (2002), among the most comprehensive contributions.


The dichotomous key has been accomplished for seven families (Nemonychidae, Anthribidae, Belidae, Attelabidae, Caridae, Brentidae, and Curculionidae), 28 subfamilies (19 of Curculionidae, one of Nemonychidae, one of Anthribidae, two of Belidae, two of Attelabidae, one of Caridae, and two of Brentidae), and 21 tribes (12 of Curculioninae and nine of Molytinae).

In the "World catalogue of genera of Curculionoidea" published by Alonso-Zarazaga & Lyal (1999) the authors recognized 22 families, following the classification of Thompson (1992) and Zimmerman (1993, 1994a, 1994b). In this contribution we have recognized seven families, according to the phylogenetic proposals of Kuschel (1995), Marvaldi & Morrone (2000) and Marvaldi et al. (2002). As a consequence, some taxa herein treated as subfamilies (i.e., Oxycoryninae, Rhynchitinae, Apioninae, Dryophthorinae, Erirhininae, and Platypodinae) were considered with a family rank by Alonso-Zarazaga and Lyal. Other differences between the classification of the mentioned catalogue and the one herein adopted are as follows: the concept of Entiminae excludes Thecesterninae (Marvaldi 1997), the concept of "Curculioninae" excludes Eugnominae (Marvaldi, unpublished data), and Aterpinae, Rhythirrininae and Gonipterinae are treated as independent subfamilies instead of tribes of Cyclominae.

All the taxa were keyed out a single time except Curculioninae, which was keyed out in four couplets. To check the key, we have used material deposited at the entomological collections of the Museo de La Plata (MLP) and the Instituto Argentino de Investigaciones de las Zonas Áridas (IADIZA-CRICYT).

The main bibliographic references to elaborate the key are Costa-Lima (1956), Morimoto (1962a, 1962b), Kissinger (1964), Clark et al. (1977), Thompson (1992), Zimmerman (1993, 1994a, 1994b), Kuschel (1995), Kuschel et al. (2000), Anderson (2002), and Marvaldi et al. (2002).

Most characters used in the key are external morphological features easily visible under a stereo-microscope. In some instances, the observation of the genitalia is needed (previous dissection) to ensure correct identifications (e.g., Erirhininae).

The terminology to designate different structures and body parts mentioned in the key is indicated mainly in Fig. 1, and the diagnostic characters are diagrammatically illustrated (Fig. 2 to 10), except details of the vestiture.

Fig. 1: Morphology of a generalized Curculionidae: (A) dorsal habitus; (B) ventral habitus; (C) lateral habitus. Heilipodus argentinicus (Heller) (Molytinae, Hylobiini). Scale = 1 cm.

Morfología de un Curculionidae generalizado: (A) hábito dorsal; (B) hábito ventral; (C) hábito lateral. Heilipodus argentinicus (Heller) (Molytinae, Hylobiini). Escala = 1 cm.


Structures and taxonomic characters

Antennae (Fig. 2). The typical antennae of the Curculionoidea has 11 articles, but the basic number is 12, being the last article usually fused with article 11. The basal article is the "scape", followed by the "funicle" of seven articles, and by a three articulated terminal "club" (Fig. 1A). In most weevils except Curculionidae (e.g., Nemonychidae, Anthribidae, Belidae, Attelabidae, Caridae, and Brentidae) the antennae are straight, with a scape quite short (about as long as funicular article 1) and the funicle joined in line with the scape (Fig. 2A to 2C, 2G and 2H). In Curculionidae the antennae are geniculate (= elbowed), with the scape elongate (distinctly longer than funicular article 1) and the funicle obliquely joined to the scape (Fig. 2D and 2E).

Fig. 2: Types of antennae and antennal insertion: (A) straight with loosely articulate club, Dicordylus annulifer (Philippi) (Belidae, Belinae); (B) idem, Attelabidae, Rhynchitinae; (C) straight with elongate club formed by articles 10-11, Cylas formicarius (Fabricius), male (Brentidae, Cyladinae); (D) geniculate with compact club, Heilipodus argentinicus (Heller) (Curculionidae, Molytinae, Hylobiini); (E) geniculate with truncate-conical club, Sphenophorus sp. (Curculionidae, Dryophtorinae); (F) antennae inserted near midlength of rostrum, dorsal view, Dicordylus annulifer (Philippi) (Belidae, Belinae); (G) antennae inserted near rostral base, dorsal view, Hydnorobius hydnorae (Pascoe) (Belidae, Oxycoryninae); (H) antennae inserted ventrally, lateral view, Caenominurus topali Voss (Caridae). Scale = 1mm, except C = 0.5 mm.

Tipos de antenas y de inserciones antenales: (A) recta, con artejos de la clava flojamente articulados, Dicordylus annulifer (Philippi) (Belidae, Belinae); (B) idem, Attelabidae, Rhynchitinae; (C) recta con clava elongada, formada por los artejos 10-11, Cylas formicarius (Fabricius), macho (Brentidae, Cyladinae); (D) geniculada, con clava compacta, Heilipodus argentinicus (Heller) (Curculionidae, Molytinae, Hylobiini); (E) geniculada con clava truncado-cónica, Sphenophorus sp., (Curculionidae, Dryophtorinae); (F) antena insertada cerca de la mitad de la longitud del rostro, vista dorsal, Dicordylus annulifer (Philippi) (Belidae, Belinae); (G) antena insertada cerca de la base del rostro, vista dorsal, Hydnorobius hydnorae (Pascoe) (Belidae, Oxycoryninae); (H) antena insertada ventralmente, vista lateral, Caenominurus topali Voss (Caridae). Escala = 1mm, excepto C = 0.5 mm.

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