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Matrix key to the Elateridae of Canada and USA

Douglas H, Hammond J, Etzler F. 2016. Matrix key to the Elateridae of Canada and USA. In Douglas, HB and Etzler, FE (eds) - Symposium: Ecology and Systematics of Elateridae (Coleoptera), International Congress of Entomology 25, Orlando Florida.


Introduction: Genus level identification of North American Elateridae remains difficult because of incomplete phylogenetic understanding and incomplete exploration of the morphological diagnostic character systems. Digital interactive keys offer an efficient and versatile route to diagnostics even where existing classifications include logical inconsistencies. Methods: We coded more than 90 genera of North American Elateridae into a matrix-based identification tool using both readily-observed, and phylogenetically-informative characters. We made further refinements during the testing stage to avoid common sources of identification failure. Results/Conclusion: The richly illustrated key, on a LUCID platform, offers quick reliable identification of elaterid genera. We find that this tool is more rapid and user-friendly than existing dichotomous keys because users have more choice about which characters to use, including easily-observed characters like body length and colour pattern. Our key includes updated generic concepts in the Cardiophorinae, and species group-information for the Athouini.

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