Field of Science

Morion

Morion monilicornis, copyright Charles Schurch Lewallen.


Just a quick one today. This is a typical member of Morion, a genus currently recognised as including over forty species of carabid beetles though there may be many more yet to be described. Characteristic features of this genus include a somewhat flattened body form, moniliform antennae (that is, the antennal segments are all short and similar in form, like beads on a string), a more or less cordiform (heart-shaped) pronotum, and a bilobed median tooth on the mentum (a sclerite on the underside of the head that might be thought of as the 'lower lip' of the mouth) (Will 2003). Though currently recognised as pantropical, Will (2003) suggested that its defining features were potentially plesiomorphic relative to some closely related genera. Further studies may identify Morion in its current sense as a paraphyletic grade to those genera, possibly leading to a reclassification.

The flattened body form of Morion and its relatives (the Morionini) reflects their preferred habitat. Like other carabids, Morion species are voracious predators (both as adults and larvae). Morionins are specialised for hunting in dead wood and under back, forcing themselves through enclosed gaps in search of other insects that might have thought themselves secure in their lignified fortresses.

REFERENCE

Will, K. W. 2003. Review and cladistic analysis of the generic-level taxa of Morionini Brullé (Coleoptera: Carabidae). Pan-Pacific Entomologist 79 (3–4): 212–229.

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