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Paracupes Kolbe 1898

Thomas Hörnschemeyer
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Paracupes brasiliensis holotypeParacupes brasiliensis lateral view
taxon links extinct icon [down<--]Cupedidae Interpreting the tree
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Containing group: Cupedidae


Two extant species have been described in this genus: Paracupes brasiliensis Kolbe, 1898 occurs in the provinces Bahia, Minas Gerais and Parana in the southwest of Brazil (South America). Paracupes ascius Neboiss, 1989 is only known from its type locality in central Ecuador (South America).

The only known fossil species is Paracupes svitkoi Lubkin, 2003 from the Cretaceous of New Jersey.


Both extant species are very similar in body shape and coloration. Specimens of P. brasiliensis can be between 6 and 16 mm long. The holotype of P. ascius, which is the only known specimen, is 10.4 mm long and 3 mm wide.

Paracupes is easily identified by the characteristic small and strongly anteriorly inclined head tubercles above the antennal insertions. Median and posterior head tubercles, which are so prominent in Cupes capitatus and some other Cupedidae, are absent. The body is long and slender, with parallel sides. The pronotum is comparatively small with prominent anterior corners. In cross-section the body is semicircular, which is uncommon in Cupedidae or Archostemata and similarly found only in Priacma serrata.

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Head and thorax of Paracupes brasiliensis ©

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

According to Hörnschemeyer (2009) Paracupes is the sistergroup of Priacma. This interpretation is based mainly on head and mouthpart characters. For instance, the shape and size of the mandible are very similar in both genera. However, these similarities could also be interpreted as plesiomorphies of Cupedidae. In this case, support for a sistergroup relationship of Paracupes and Priacma would be quite weak, suggesting that these species are just "primitive" representatives of Cupedidae.


Crowson, R.A. 1962. Observations on the beetle family Cupedidae, with descriptions of two new fossil forms and a key to the recent genera. Annals & Magazine of Natural History 5, ser. 13, No. 51: 147-157

Gestro, R. 1910. Cupesidae, Paussidae. Coleopterorum Catalogus. Vol. 4 Pars 5.

Hörnschemeyer, T., 2009. The species-level phylogeny of archostematan beetles - where do Micromalthus debilis and Crowsoniella relicta belong? Systematic Entomology 34(3): 533-558.

Kolbe, H. J. 1898. Eine neue Gattung der Cupesiden. Entomologische Nachrichten 12: 179-180.

Lubkin, S. H. 2003. Paracupes svitkoi (Coleoptera: Cupedidae), a new species from the Cretaceous of New Jersey. Acta Zoologica Cracoviensia 46:189-194.

Neboiss, A. 1984. Reclassification of Cupes Fabricius (s.lat.), with descriptions of new genera and species (Cupedidae: Coleoptera). Systematic Entomology 9: 443-477.

Neboiss, A. 1989. New species of Archostemata (Coleoptera, Ommatidae, Cupedidae). Revue francaise Entomologie (N.S.). 11(3): 109-115.

Vulcano, M.A. & Pereira, F.S. 1975. Cupesidae (Coleoptera). Archivos do Instituto Biologico, Sao Paulo, Brasil 42: 31-68.

Title Illustrations
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Paracupes brasiliensis holotype
Scientific Name Paracupes brasiliensis
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Identified By Kolbe
Life Cycle Stage adult
View dorsal
Collection Zoological Museum Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
Type Holotype
Copyright © 2009
Paracupes brasiliensis lateral view
Scientific Name Paracupes brasiliensis
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Life Cycle Stage adult
View lateral
Copyright ©
About This Page

University Göttingen, Institute for Zoology & Anthropology, Dept. Morphology & Systematics

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Thomas Hörnschemeyer at

Page: Tree of Life Paracupes Kolbe 1898. Authored by Thomas Hörnschemeyer. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Hörnschemeyer, Thomas. 2011. Paracupes Kolbe 1898. Version 23 July 2011 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Paracupes/9006/2011.07.23 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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