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Tenomerga Neboiss 1984

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Tenomerga cinerea
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Containing group: Cupedidae


With 14 extant species (see table), the genus Tenomerga is the largest among Cupedidae and Archostemata in general. Species of this genus are found in North America (T. cinerea) and South Africa (T. leucophaea) but most species occur in the south-east Asiatic area.

The species of Tenomerga are characterised by short, compact heads with usually distinct posterior dorsal head tubercles. The  different species can grow in total length from 7mm up to ca. 20mm.

Currently known species of Tenomerga

Tenomerga Junior synonyms Distribution Total length, ca. [mm] Total width, ca. [mm] Length/width ratio, ca. Larvae
anguliscutis (Kolbe, 1886) Cupes anguliscutis Kolbe, 1886
Cupes formosanus Tamanuki, 1928
Korea; Vietnam; Laos; eastern China (Mandshuria); Taiwan 10 to 12.4 2.7 to 3.6 3.7 unkown
cinerea (Say, 1831) Cupes cinereus Say, 1831
Cupes concolor Westwood, 1835
Cupes trilineatus Melsheimer, 1845
Cupes oculatus
Casey, 1897
eastern North America (USA; Canada) 7.5 to 14 1.7 to 3.6 4 one instar and pupa studied by Snyder (1913) and Grebennikov (2004), larvae live in wood of broad-leafed plants infested by the fungus Daedalea quercina (Snyder 1913, 1956)
favella Neboiss, 1984   Borneo 9.7 2.1 4.6 unknown
gaolingziensis Ge & Yang, 2004   eastern China 10.8 2.1 5.1 unknown
japonica (Tamanuki, 1928) Cupes japonicus Tamanuki, 1928 Japan, Honshu; possibly also in China (ref. Vulcano & Pereira 1975 and specimen in collection of BMNH) 9 to 14 2.3 to 3.9 3.7 unknown
kapnodes Neboiss, 1984   eastern part of New Guinea 8 to 9 2 to 2.3 4 unknown
kurosawai Miyatake, 1986   Japan, probably endemic on the island of Yaku-shima, near the southern coast of Kyushu 12.5 to 15 3.2 to 4 3.8 unknown
leucophaea (Newman, 1839) Cupes leucophaea Newman, 1839
Cupes capensis Kolbe, 1897
South Africa (southern and south-eastern coasts) 15.7 to 20 4 to 4.6 4 unknown
moultoni (Gestro, 1910) Cupes moultoni Gestro, 1910 Borneo; Philippines (Mindanao) 7 to 9.7 2 to 2.3 4.1 unknown
mucida (Chevrolat, 1829)

Cupes mucidus Chevrolat, 1829
Cupes clathratus Solsky, 1871
Cupes ocularis Pascoe, 1872
Cupes clathratus var. fuscus Tamanuki, 1928


Japan, eastern coasts of Russia (south-east Siberia) to southern coasts of China; Phillipines; Hawaii (probably introduced) 10 to 14.5 2.8 to 4.5 3.6 two instars & pupa studied by Fukuda (1938, 1939, 1941) and Grebennikov (2004)
sibyllae (Klapperich, 1950) Cupes sibyllae Klapperich, 1950 south-east China 10.9 to 12.4 2.9 to 3.4 3.6 unknown
tianmuensis Ge & Yang, 2004   eastern China 12.3 2.8 4.4 unknown
trabecula Neboiss, 1984   eastern China; Taiwan 10 to 13.2 2.5 to 3.4 4 unknown
yamato Miyatake, 1985   Japan, Kyushu 9.5 to 11 2.4 to 2.8 3.8 unknown


Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

The phylogenetic relationships of the species of Tenomerga were analysed by Hörnschemeyer (2009). An interesting result of this analysis is the postulation of a close relationship of T. leucophaea with Cupes capitatus and Rhipsideigma, rendering Tenomerga in ist current designation non-monophyletic. Such a relationship becomes plausible when Tenomerga fossils from Europe are taken into account. Motschulsky 1856, Peyerimhoff 1909, Gersdorf 1976, Tröster 1993, Wedmann 200 and Wappler 2003 described compression and amber fossils of Eocene to Pleistocene age from Europe that closely resemble C. capitatus as well as T. leucophaea in their character composition.

Otherwise the species of Tenomerga are grouped in two clades, one comprising the North American T. cinerea and the eastern Asiatic species (see cladogram), the second clade contains T. favella, T. kapnodes and T. moultoni.


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© 2011


Casey, T. L. 1897. Coleopterological notices VII, Cupesidae. - Annals of the New York Academy of Science 9: 637-638.

Chevrolat, A. 1829. Iconographie du Règne Animal - In: Guérin-Méneville, F. E.: Iconographie du Règne Animal, Vol. 3: 58.

Ge, S.-Q. and X.-K. Yang. 2004. Two new Chinese species of Tenomerga Neboiss (Coleoptera: Cupedidae), with a world catalog of the genus. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 106(3):631-638.

Gersdorf, E. 1976. Dritter Beitrag über Käfer (Coleoptera) aus dem Jungtertiär von Willershausen, Bl. Northeim 4226. - Geologisches Jahrbuch A 36: 103-145.

Gestro, R. 1910. Contribuzione allo studio dei Cupedidi. - Annali del Museo civico di storia naturale di Genova 4: 454-456.

Klapperich, J. 1950. Eine neue Art der Cupesidae (Coleoptera) aus Asien. - Bonner Zoologische Beiträge Heft 1: 83-85.

Kolbe, H. J. 1886. Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Coleopteren-Fauna Koreas. - Archiv für Naturgeschichte 52: 139-240.

Melsheimer, F. E. 1845. Descriptions of new species of Coleoptera of the United States. - Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 2 (12): 302-318.

Miyatake, M. 1986. A new species of the genus Tenomerga (Coleoptera, Cupedidae) from Yakushima Island, southwest Japan. - In: Ueno, S.I. (Ed.). Entomological papers presented to Yoshihiko Kurosawa on the occasion of his retirement. Coleopterists‘ Association of Japan, Tokyo: 111-114.

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

Newman, E. 1839. XXXV.-Supplementary note to the synonymy of Passandra. - Annals and Magazine of Natural History (Zoology, Botany, and Geology) 3 (18. 303 - 305.

Pascoe, F. P. 1872. Notes on Coleoptera, with descriptions of new genera and species. Part 2. - Annals and Magazine of Natural History (4) 10: 317-326.

Say, T. 1835. Descriptions of new North American coleopterous insects, and observations on some already described. - Boston Journal of Natural History Vol. I (1834-1837): 151-202.

Solsky, S. 1871. Coleoptères de la Siberia orientale. - Horae Societatis Entomologicae Rossicae 7 (1870): 334-406.

Tamanuki, K. 1928. A taxonomic study of the Japanese Cupedidae. - Zoological Magazine, Tokyo 40: 242-254.

Tröster, G. 1993. Two new Middle European species of the genus Tenomerga Neboiss 1983 from the Middle Eocene of Grube Messel and the Eckfelder Maar (Coleoptera: Archostemmata[sic]:Cupedidae). Mainzer naturwiss. Archiv. 31:S169-176.

Wedmann, S. 2000. Die Insekten der oberoligozänen Fossillagerstätte Enspel (Westerwald, Deutschland). - Mainzer naturwissenschaftliches Archiv Beiheft 23: 1-154.

Westwood, J. O. 1835. Insectorum Arachnoidumque novorum Decades duo. - The Zoological Journal 5 (20. 440-453.

Title Illustrations
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Tenomerga cinerea
Scientific Name Tenomerga cinerea
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Life Cycle Stage Adult
View Dorsal
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License - Version 3.0.
Copyright © 1996 David R. Maddison
Scientific Name Tenomerga cinerea
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Sex Female
Life Cycle Stage adult
View dorsal
Size 14mm
Copyright ©
Scientific Name Tenomerga mucida
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Life Cycle Stage adult
Body Part head
View dorsal
Copyright ©
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Tree of Life Web Project. 2011. Tenomerga Neboiss 1984. Version 22 November 2011 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Tenomerga/9009/2011.11.22 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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