Master of Science (MS)



Document Type



My thesis research includes three components: (1) a methodology project, (2) a systematic project comprising a taxonomic revision, and (3) a morphology-based, cladistic analysis. 1. The methodological study compared the Winkler (Moczarski) eclector and the Berlese-Tullgren funnel (referred to hereafter as “Winkler” and “Berlese” funnels, respectively) as methods for extracting forest litter-dwelling Coleoptera from sifted substrate, with a focus on relevance for taxonomic studies. A general review of the history and methodologies of leaf litter arthropod extraction was provided, in conjunction with repeated, timed trials to compare the relative effectiveness of the two methods using litter samples from various geographic regions. Extraction rates for Winkler and Berlese funnels were evaluated based on temporal and taxonomic criteria by comparing accumulations of Coleoptera specimens and species at timed intervals. In addition, the Curculionidae and Staphylinidae, as well as “rare” species were targeted and evaluated, individually. Results did not indicate clear differences in extraction efficiency, either temporally or taxonomically, between Winklers and Berleses. However, extraction patterns for both Winklers and Berleses suggested that intervals at the beginning of trials (3-18 hours) and later in the trials (60-144 hours) yielded information most relevant for taxonomic studies. An extraction protocol for litter-dwelling Coleoptera is suggested based on these results. A checklist of all species collected was provided. 2. A taxonomic revision of the North American trichonychine genus Eutyphlus LeConte reviewed the current status of described species. These were redescribed along with documentation and drawings of external variations, male genitalia, biometrics, and range maps for each species. One undescribed species was described from museum specimens based on morphological and phylogenetic criteria. 3. Monophyly of the genus Eutyphlus was tested and the phylogenetic placement of this genus within the subtribe Panaphantina Jeannel was evaluated based on morphological cladistic analysis of trichonychine genera, including numerous relevant outgroup taxa. Eutyphlus was recovered as a monophyletic genus within the tribe Trichonychini Reitter, while many other higher-level taxa were not grouped together and merit redefinition or further examination.



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Committee Chair

Carlton, Christopher



Included in

Entomology Commons