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Lycidae Laporte, 1836

Lycidae Laporte, 1836

The lycids, or net-winged beetles, are soft-bodied beetles, presenting aposematic colors and high levels of toxins, known as center models in mimetic rings (Marshall and Poulton 1902; Shelford 1902; Guenther 1931; Darlington 1938; Linsley et al. 1961; Moore and Brown 1981). Lycidae is member of Elateriformia series, placed in the Elateroidea superfamily, together with other soft-bodied families like Cantharidae, Lampyridae, Phengodidae, Telegeusidae, as well as hard-bodied Elateridae, Eucnemidae, Throscidae and others (Lawrence & Newton 1995; Lawrence et al. 1999; Beutel & Leschen 2005). Lycids are externally similar to cantharids and lampyrids, but can be generally distinguished by the head not entirely covered by the pronotum (a character that differentiates them from higher lampyrids) and by having 3 to 4 strong costae on each elytron, usually with reticulate cells (costae are lacking in Cantharidae and at least reticulate cells are lacking in Lampyridae, since most taxa have some costae). Lycids also differ from fireflies and soldier beetles by presenting long trochanters with insertion of femur mostly set off or sometimes slightly oblique (mostly oblique in lampyrids and strongly oblique in cantharids), moreover their midcoxae are distinctly separated, while continuous or almost continuous in Cantharidae and Lampyridae.

Lycids are cosmopolitan but most diverse in tropical regions (Wallace 1867; Kleine 1933; Blackwelder 1945). The taxonomical and distributional knowledge is reasonable in North America and some regions of Central America, well established in Europe and many Asiatic regions, but relatively poor in South America (e.g. Leng and Mutchler 1922; Darlington 1938; Green 1949; Bocak and Bocakova 1990, 1999; Bocak 1998; Zaragoza-Caballero 1999; Bocakova 2001, 2003; Kazantsev 2004, 2005).

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