Hycleus is the most speciose genus of the beetle family Meloidae, with almost 430 species widespread in Africa and Eurasia. It belongs to the tribe Mylabrini, subfamily Meloinae. The systematics of the genus Hycleus has never been investigated but, according to the mesosternal morphology, it has been divided by Pardo Alcaide into three main “sections”: Mesogorbatus, with almost 70 species; Mesotaeniatus, with about 50 species and Mesoscutatus with almost 300 species. Within these “sections”, different lineages have been identified according to other morphological characters. Furthermore, previous and ongoing studies on the phylogeny of this family pointed out that the genera Paractenodia and Ceroctis are strictly related to the genus Hycleus and should probably be included within it. Paractenodia includes five species endemic to South Africa and Namibia, and Ceroctis 59 species distributed through the tropical Africa and the Saharan-Arabic deserts. In order to understand the relationships among some of the species belonging to these genera, about one hundred species were molecularly tested with mitochondrial (COI, 16S) and nuclear (CAD, ARGK, Wingless) markers. The sequences obtained were analysed under the assumptions of Maximum parsimony, Maximum likelihood and Bayesian inferences and a first set of phylogenetic trees is proposed. Preliminary results seem to corroborate the validity of some lineages already defined according to morphological characters, moreover both nuclear and mitochondrial markers confirm that both Ceroctis and Paractenodia belong to the genus Hycleus, in agreement with previous preliminary molecular results. Further analyses to increment the number of tested species are already in progress.
Riccieri, A., Mancini, E., Bologna, M.A. (2017). Exploring the phylogeny of a megadiverse taxon: the case of Hycleus (Coleoptera, Meloidae). In Evoluzione 2017 - Abstract Book (pp.36-36). Roma.