Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps


Compiler and date details

J.F. Lawrence, T.A. Weir and J.E. Pyke, CSIRO Entomology Updated by Andrew A. Calder, CSIRO Entomology & W.W.K. Houston, ABRS, Canberra, ACT, Australia


As delimited by Lawrence & Newton (1995), this family is equivalent to the Ommatidae and Tetraphaleridae (excluding Crowsoniella) of Crowson (1976) and the cupedid subfamily Ommatinae, as used by Ponomarenko (1969). There are two extant genera: Omma with four Australian species, and Tetraphalerus Waterhouse, with two species from South America (Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia) (Neboiss 1960; Vulcano & Pereira 1975). Five more fossil genera and several extinct species of Omma and Tetraphalerus are known from the Lower Triassic to the Lower Cretaceous of Siberia, Central Asia and western Europe (Crowson 1962; Ponomarenko 1969).

Little is known of the biology of Ommatidae and Lawrence (1999) in a review of Australian Ommatidae described a putative larva. Species of Omma have been collected not only in heavily forested, mesic areas east of the Great Divide, but also in more arid regions of open woodland and pastureland in western New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia (Neboiss 1960; Lawrence 1999). Species of Tetraphalerus are known from arid parts of South America. From what is known of the biology of other Archostemata (Cupedidae and Micromalthidae), it has been assumed that ommatid larvae feed on dead, fungus-infested wood. It is quite possible that in more arid regions ommatids occur in dead subterranean wood such as tree roots, buried structural timber, rotten cores of living trees or stumps.


General References

Crowson, R.A. 1962. Observations on the beetle family Cupedidae, with descriptions of two new fossil forms and a key to the recent genera. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 13 5: 147-157 pls 3-4

Crowson, R.A. 1976. The systematic position and implications of Crowsoniella. Bollettino del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Verona 2(1975): 459-463

Lawrence, J.F. 1982. Coleoptera. pp. 482-553 in Parker, S.P. (ed.). Synopsis and Classification of Living Organisms. New York : McGraw Hill Vol. 2 vii 1232 pp.

Lawrence, J.F. 1999. The Australian Ommatidae (Coleoptera: Archostemata): new species, larva and discussion of relationships. Invertebrate Taxonomy 13(3): 369–390 [?? Jun. 1999]

Lawrence, J.F. & Newton, A.F., Jr 1982. Evolution and classification of beetles. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 13: 261-290

Lawrence, J.F. & Newton, A.F., Jr 1995. Families and subfamilies of Coleoptera (with selected genera, notes, references and data on family-group names). pp. 779-1006 in Pakaluk, J. & Ślipiński, S.A. (eds). Biology, Phylogeny and Classification of Coleoptera: Papers celebrating the 80th birthday of Roy A. Crowson. Warszawa : Muzeum i Instytut Zoologii PAN.

Neboiss, A. 1960. On the family Cupedidae, Coleoptera. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 72: 12-20 pls 4-5

Ponomarenko, A.G. 1969. Historical development of the Coleoptera-Archostemata. Trudy Paleontol. Inst. 125:1–240 pls 1–15. [in Russian]

Vulcano, M.A. & Pereira, F.S. 1975. Cupesidae (Coleoptera). Arquivos do Instituto Biologico, São Paulo 42: 31-68


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
12-Feb-2010 (import)