RES Handbook Vol 5 Part 10. Coleoptera - Tenebrionidae

THE single family covered by this handbook belongs to that part of the Heteromera (Cucujoidea, section ii of Crowson, 1955) composed of the families where both sexes have a tarsal formula of 5-5-4. It is the only family of this group not included by Buck (1954a). Considering the Tenebrionidae (or Darkling Beetles) on a world basis they are the largest family within the Cucujoidea, comprising over 15,000 species (Watt, 1967), and exhibit possibly more diversity of form than any other family of the Coleoptera. Although found throughout the world, the greater number of species occur in warmer climates, particularly in the more arid regions. Enormous numbers of species are found in such areas as the Namib and Gobi deserts, their many and varied adaptations enabling them to survive extremes of temperature and periods of prolonged drought. These facts have caused the Tenebrionidae to be regarded as the most highly evolved family of the Cucujoidea (Crowson, 1955). The Tenebrionidae are, however, poorly represented in the British Isles; of the 34 species included here only just over half are indigenous.
M. J. D. Brendell
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