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Acta zoológica mexicana

versão On-line ISSN 2448-8445versão impressa ISSN 0065-1737

Acta Zool. Mex  no.80 Xalapa Ago. 2000




Mexican weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea): a preliminary key to families and subfamilies


Juan J. Morrone


Museo de Zoología, Facultad de Ciencias, UNAM, Apdo. Postal 70-399, CP 04510 México D.F., México. E-mail:


Recibido: 23 de abril 1999
Aceptado: 13 de enero 2000



Los gorgojos mexicanos (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea) pertenecen a las siguientes familias y subfamilias: Nemonychidae (Rhinorhynchinae), Anthribidae (Anthribinae y Choraginae), Belidae (Oxycoryninae), Attelabidae (Attelabinae y Rhynchitinae), Brentidae (Apioninae, Brentinae y Cyladinae), Dryophthoridae (Dryophthorinae, Rhynchophorinae y Orthognatinae), Erirhinidae (Erirhininae y Raymondionyminae) y Curculionidae (Entiminae, Thecesterninae, Cyclominae, Phytonominae, Curculioninae, Cryptorhynchinae, Zygopinae, Baridinae, Lixinae, Molytinae, Cossoninae, Scolytinae y Platypodinae). Se presenta una clave preliminar para identificar estas familias y subfamilias. Se incluyen también algunas notas, con el objeto de comparar la clasificación aquí seguida con las de autores previos.

Palabras clave: Curculionoidea. familias, clave, México.



Mexican weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea) belong to the following families and subfamilies: Nemonychidae (Rhinorhynchinae), Anthribidae (Anthribinae and Choraginae), Belidae (Oxycoryninae), Attelabidae (Attelabinae and Rhynchitinae), Brentidae (Apioninae, Brentinae, and Cyladinae), Dryophthoridae (Dryophthorinae, Rhynchophorinae, and Orthognatinae), Erirhinidae (Erirhininae and Raymondionyminae), and Curculionidae (Entiminae, Thecesterninae, Cyclominae, Phytonominae, Curculioninae, Cryptorhynchinae, Zygopinae, Baridinae, Lixinae, Molytinae, Cossoninae, Scolytinae, and Platypodinae). A preliminary key to identify these families and subfamilies is presented. Some notes are also included, in order to compare the classification herein followed with those of previous authors.

Key words: Curculionoidea. families, key, Mexico.



Weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea), with 57,000 species and 6,000 genera described (Thompson, 1992), constitute one of the most diverse insect groups. According to Anderson & O'Brien (1996), they are particularly well-represented in Mexico, with more than 2,300 known species. Some weevils are of economic importance, being pests of several plants, whereas others are potential biological control agents against different weeds. The higher classification of Curculionoidea has been the subject of much controversy, and there is little agreement among the different proposals (Schoenherr, 1826; Lacordaire, 1863; Sharp, 1889-1911; Champion, 1902-1911; Blackwelder, 1947; Crowson, 1955; Costa-Lima, 1956; Morimoto, 1962a, b; Kissinger, 1964; Muñiz, 1970; O'Brien & Wibmer, 1982; Wood, 1986, 1993; Thompson, 1992; May, 1993, 1994; Zimmerman, 1993, 1994a, b; Kuschel, 1995; Marvaldi, 1997). In a recent contribution (Morrone, 1998), I reviewed them and proposed a consensus phylogenetic classification.

My objective herein is to provide a key to identify the higher groups (families and subfamilies) of the Curculionoidea that have been reported for Mexico, based on adult and larval characters, basically using my classification (Morrone, 1998) as a framework. In preparing the key, I have taken into consideration relevant characters from previous contributions (Crowson, 1955; Costa-Lima, 1956; Morimoto, 1962a, b; Kissinger, 1964; Wood, 1986; Thompson, 1992; May, 1993, 1994; Zimmerman, 1994a, b; Kuschel, 1995). Detailed discussions and illustrations of adult characters can be found in Crowson (1955), Costa-Lima (1956), Kissinger (1964), Wood (1986), Thompson (1992), and Zimmerman (1993, 1994a, b). Larval characters are discussed and illustrated by May (1993, 1994) and Marvaldi (1997).

As stated by Kissinger (1964), identification of weevil taxa is not a simple matter, because of the huge number of species involved and the inherent taxonomic difficulties. Furthermore, the chaotic state of weevil taxonomy makes it sometimes difficult to understand the differences among the alternative classifications. This key should be considered as preliminary; however, I hope it will orientate those trying to understand the higher classification of the Mexican Curculionoidea.




1 Dryophthoridae, commonly known by their junior synonym Rhynchophoridae, have been traditionally treated as a subfamily of Curculionidae (Blackwelder, 1947; O'Brien & Wibmer, 1982; Kuschel, 1995), but several authors considered them as a distinct family (Morimoto, 1962a, b; Thompson, 1992; Zimmerman, 1993; Morrone, 1998). They comprise four subfamilies: Rhynchophorinae, Orthognatinae (= Sipalininae), Dryophthorinae, and Stromboscerinae (Zimmerman, 1993); the three former are represented in Mexico.

2 Thompson (1992) and Zimmerman (1993) gave familial status to Erirhinidae. They are quite similar to Curculionidae, where they have been usually assigned, as a subfamily or as a tribe of Curculioninae (Kuschel, 1995). They comprise three subfamilies: Erirhininae, Tadiinae, and Raymondionyminae (Zimmerman, 1993; Morrone, 1998); the two former are represented in Mexico.

3 In the last decades, there have been considerable changes concerning the suprageneric taxa included in Curculionidae, and several taxa have been promoted to separate families: Dryophthoridae (Morimoto, 1962a, b), Ithyceridae (Morimoto, 1976), Erirhinidae (Thompson, 1992; Zimmerman, 1993), and Brachyceridae, Cryptolaryngidae, and Raymondionymidae (Thompson, 1992). Kuschel (1995) demoted dryophthorids and platypodids to subfamilies of Curculionidae, and merged several subfamilies within his subfamilies Brachycerinae and Curculioninae.

4 Scolytinae (the "bark beetles") have been traditionally considered as a distinct family (Blackwelder, 1947; Wood, 1986), although there is now a consensus that they are members of the family Curculionidae (Crowson, 1955; Thompson, 1992; Kuschel, 1995; Marvaldi, 1997; Morrone, 1998).

5 Platypodinae (the "ambrosia beetles") have been usually considered as a distinct family (Wood, 1986, 1993; Thompson, 1992; Zimmerman, 1994a; Morrone, 1998), although their treatment as subfamily of Curculionidae (Crowson, 1955; Kuschel, 1995; A. E. Marvaldi, pers. comm.) seems to be the most valid.

6 Entiminae (the "broad nosed weevils") include the tribes Pachyrhynchini, Ectemnorhinini, Alophini, Sitonini, and Entimini (Marvaldi, 1998). The tribes Sitonini and Entimini are represented in Mexico.

7 Kuschel (1995) and Zimmerman (1994a) expanded the concept of Curculioninae, by demoting several traditional curculionid subfamilies to tribes of it: Anthonomini, Bradybatini, Camarotini, Ceratopodini, Ceutorhynchini, Cionini, Coeliodini, Curculionini, Derelomini, Eugnomini, Geochini, Gymnetrini, Hypurini, Mechistocerini, Mononychini, Nerthopini, Prionomerini, Pyropini, Rhamphini (= Rhynchaenini), Scleropterini, Smicronychini, Storeini, Tachygonini, Tychiini, Viticiini, and Xiphaspidini. The tribes Anthonomini, Bradybatini, Camarotini, Ceratopodini, Ceutorhynchini, Curculionini, Derelomini, Eugnomini, Prionomerini, Rhamphini, Smicronychini, Storeini, Tachygonini, and Tychiini are represented in Mexico.

8 Phytonominae are usually known by their junior synonym Hyperinae.

9 Cyclominae include the tribes Amycterini, Aterpini, Cyclomini (= Hipporhinini), Diabathrariini, Gonipterini, Haplopodini, Rhytirrhinini, and Somatodini (Morrone, 1997). Only the tribe Rhytirrhinini is represented in Mexico.

10 Molytinae in its present sense is the result of combining several subfamilies (Kuschel, 1987; Thompson, 1992; Morrone, 1998; C. W. O'Brien, pers. comm.). It includes the tribes Trypetidini, Juanorhinini, Phoenicobatini, Petalochilini, Emphyastini, Amalactini, Mecysolobini, Paipalesomini, Lepyrini, Cholini, Conotrachelini, Molytini (=Hylobiini), Pissodini, Acicnemidini, Cycloterini, Nettarhinini, Pacholenini, Lithinini, Ithyporini, Erodiscini, Euderini, Styanacini, Phrynixini, Anchonini, Lymantini, Cleogonini, Sternechini, Guioperini, Omophorini, Galloisiini, Haplonychini, Dinomorphini, and Bagoini. The tribes Amalactini, Cholini, Molytini, Pissodini, Lithinini, Conotrachelini, Cleogonini, Sternechini, Guioperini, Anchonini, Lymantini, Cycloterini, Bagoini, and Erodiscini are represented in Mexico (Morrone, 1999).

11 Lixinae are usually known by their junior synonym Cleoninae.

12 Nemonychidae comprise three extant subfamilies: Doydirhynchinae, Nemonychinae, and Rhinorhynchinae (Kuschel, 1995); only the latter is represented in Mexico.

13 Anthribidae (the "fungus weevils") comprise three subfamilies: Anthribinae, Choraginae, and Urodontinae (Kuschel, 1995); the two former are represented in Mexico.

14 The original concept of Brentidae was expanded by several authors (Morimoto, 1976; Thompson, 1992; Kuschel, 1995) to include also the Eurhynchinae, Cyladinae, Apioninae, Nanophyinae, and Antliarhininae. Zimmerman (1994b), however, preferred to give separate familial status to Eurhynchidae, Apionidae, and Antliarhinidae. Brentinae, Cyladinae, and Apioninae are represented in Mexico.

15 Belidae comprise three subfamilies Aglyciderinae, Belinae, and Oxycoryninae (Kuschel, 1995); only Oxycoryninae are represented in Mexico.

16 Attelabidae (the "leaf-rolling weevils") comprise two subfamilies: Attelabinae and Rhynchitinae (Kuschel, 1995), both represented in Mexico.



I would like to thank Bob Anderson, Robert Jones, Jesús Luna, Adriana Marvaldi, Raúl Muñiz, and two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments on the manuscript.


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