Tool background

Species identification in Diabrotica remains a problem because of a lack of modern treatments and keys. Therefore, a project was launched to provide a synopsis of North and Central American Diabrotica and prepare a richly illustrated, morphologically based, interactive key to species.

The first, essential step of this project focused on documenting all available type specimens of all 123 Diabrotica species and subspecies known from North and Central America (Smith and Lawrence 1967). As a result, we found several new synonyms, new combinations, a need to restore an original combination and revised species status, and discrepancies in the type specimen gender attribution and identifications (Derunkov and Konstantinov in press). We also found several undescribed species that are abbreviated in this tool, but will be described in near future. Update: please see the Tool updates for details on new species names added to the tool in February 2015.

Study of the type specimens also revealed some extreme cases of misidentification in the type series. For example, the type series of D. godmani Jacoby contained seven different taxa: one is D. godmani itself, one is D. championi Jacoby; one is D. quadricollis Jacoby; one is not a Diabrotica; and three are different unidentified Diabrotica species. The type series of D. viridicollis Jacoby contained four different taxa, D. viridicollis Jacoby itself and three different unidentified Diabrotica species.

List of insect collections – depositaries of examined specimens:

BMNH – Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom (M. V. L. Barclay)
ESUH – Entomologischen Sammlungen des Institutes für Biologie/Zoologie der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany (K. Schneider)
FMNH-UH – Finnish Museum of Natural History, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland (H. Viljanen)
MCZ – Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA (P. D. Perkins)
MfN – Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, Germany (J. Frisch)
MNHN – Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris, France (A. Mantilleri)
MTD – Museum für Tierkunde, Senckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen, Dresden, Germany (O. Jäger)
NMB – Naturhistorisches Museum Basel, Sammlung Frey, Basel, Switzerland (E. Sprecher-Uebersax)
SDEI – Senckenberg Deutsches Entomologisches Institut, Müncheberg, Germany (L. Zerche, L. Behne)
USNM – National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, USA
ZMUC – Zoological Museum, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Denmark (A. Solodovnikov)