Under Construction

Aleochara (Maseochara)

Christian Maus and James S. Ashe (1947-2005)
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
taxon links Phylogenetic position of group is uncertainPhylogenetic position of group is uncertain[down<--]Aleochara Interpreting the tree
close box

This tree diagram shows the relationships between several groups of organisms.

The root of the current tree connects the organisms featured in this tree to their containing group and the rest of the Tree of Life. The basal branching point in the tree represents the ancestor of the other groups in the tree. This ancestor diversified over time into several descendent subgroups, which are represented as internal nodes and terminal taxa to the right.

example of a tree diagram

You can click on the root to travel down the Tree of Life all the way to the root of all Life, and you can click on the names of descendent subgroups to travel up the Tree of Life all the way to individual species.

For more information on ToL tree formatting, please see Interpreting the Tree or Classification. To learn more about phylogenetic trees, please visit our Phylogenetic Biology pages.

close box
Phylogeny adapted from the discussion provided by KLIMASZEWSKI & JANSEN 1994.
Containing group: Aleochara


This subgenus comprises 14 species that occur in Neotropical and southwestern Nearctic, and in the Ethiopian and Oriental Regions. It includes the largest species of the Aleocharini and probably the largest in the subfamily Aleocharinae.


The species of the subgenus Maseochara are characterized by: conspicuous transversely meshed microsculpture of the forebody; body narrow, elongate and subparallel and more or less flattened; and mesosternum not carinate. Body size of the species ranges between 2.3 and 13.0 mm (from KLIMASZEWSKI 1984 and KLIMASZEWSKI & JANSEN 1994). A. (M.) valida (body length 7.0-13.0 mm) is the largest Aleochara species.

Identification Guides

The Nearctic species have been revised by KLIMASZEWSKI (1984), the African ones by KLIMASZEWSKI & JANSEN (1994). KLIMASZEWSKI (1987) included two South American species.


Maseochara species appear to be associated with rotting plant material. Some American species live in decaying cacti (KLIMASZEWSKI 1984, KLIMASZEWSKI & JANSEN 1994). A. (M.) valida is the only species whose development has been investigated. Its host is Volucella marginata (Diptera: Syrphidae). The third instar larva leaves the host puparium for pupation (COQUILLETT 1891).

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

KLIMASZEWSKI & JANSEN (1994) proposed three (or four) main evolutionary lineages of Maseochara, the American, the African and the Oriental lineages (the oriental species possibly represent two separate lineages). The American lineage is characterized by the flattened body, distinct regular hexagonal microsculpture and more or less sparse pubescence of the forebody. Within the American fauna, KLIMASZEWSKI (1984, 1987) and KLIMASZEWSKI & JANSEN (1994) recognized three species groups (valida, duplicata and wickhami groups), of which the latter two are monotypic. The wickhami group is distinguished by the flat hexagonal sculpticells of the microsculpture and the more glossy and sparsely pubescent pronotum. The duplicata and valida groups have a microsculpture of very convex sculpticells and a dull and densely pubescent pronotum. The duplicata group is characterized by the mid and hind tibiae which bear long, protruding setae in the apical third, and by male and female sexual characteristics. Since no autapomorphies are given for the valida group, its monophyly is uncertain. Within the valida group, A. (M.) opacella and A. (M.) gracilis are very closely related (KLIMASZEWSKI 1987). The African lineage is distinct by the less flattened body and the irregularly meshed microsculpture on the forebody that consists of micropunctures forming irregular ridges. This lineage is divided into the angusticollis and the brunneipennis groups, which are each characterized by genitalic features. The hypothesis that the main lineages are monophyletic is based on biogeography (from KLIMASZEWSKI 1984, 1987 and KLIMASZEWSKI & JANSEN 1994).

It is uncertain that Maseochara is monophyletic. The main characteristic (distinct microsculpture of the forebody) is also found in other subgenera (e.g. Emplenota, Polystomota, Coprochara partially). Consequently, it is doubtful that this microsculpture is an autapomorphy of this group, especially since there are different types of microsculpture in Maseochara (KLIMASZEWSKI & JANSEN 1994). The other characteristics of Maseochara given by KLIMASZEWSKI (1984) and KLIMASZEWSKI & JANSEN (1994) are also not likely to be autapomorphies. The monophyly of the main evolutionary lineages is not well established as well, since KLIMASZEWSKI & JANSEN 1994 did not provide information about which states of distinctive characteristics are apomorphic, and which are plesiomorphic.


Coquillett, D. 1891. Another parasitic Rove Beetle. U.S. Div. Insect Life 3: 318-319

Klimaszewski, J. 1984. A revision of the genus Aleochara Gravenhorst of America north of Mexico (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae, Aleocharinae). Mem. Ent. Soc. Canada 129: 1-211

Klimaszewski, J. 1987. A review of Sharp's types of Aleochara from Latin America (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae). Ent. Scand. 20: 1-14

Klimaszewski, J. & R. Jansen 1994. Systematics, biology and distribution of Aleochara Gravenhorst. Part 4: subgenus Maseochara Sharp in the Afrotropical region. J. Afr. Zool. 108: 163-180

Maus, Christian and Ashe, James S. 1998. Aleochara (Emplenota). Version 11 September 1998 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Aleochara_%28Emplenota%29/9904/1998.09.11 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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
Scientific Name Aleochara (Maseochara) valida
Location Arizona
Size length 11.0 mm
Copyright © 1997 James S. Ashe (1947-2005)
About This Page
Development of this page made possible by National Science Foundation PEET grant DEB 95-21755 to James S. Ashe and a DAAD grant D/97/05475 from the German Government to Christian Maus. All images on this page copyright © 1997 James S. Ashe.

Bayer CropScience AG, Institute for Ecotoxicology, Monheim, Germany

James S. Ashe (1947-2005)
University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Christian Maus at

Page: Tree of Life Aleochara (Maseochara). Authored by Christian Maus and James S. Ashe (1947-2005). The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 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:

Maus, Christian and James S. Ashe (1947-2005). 1998. Aleochara (Maseochara). Version 11 September 1998 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Aleochara_%28Maseochara%29/9906/1998.09.11 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

edit this page
close box

This page is a Tree of Life Branch Page.

Each ToL branch page provides a synopsis of the characteristics of a group of organisms representing a branch of the Tree of Life. The major distinction between a branch and a leaf of the Tree of Life is that each branch can be further subdivided into descendent branches, that is, subgroups representing distinct genetic lineages.

For a more detailed explanation of the different ToL page types, have a look at the Structure of the Tree of Life page.

close box

Aleochara (Maseochara)

Page Content

articles & notes



Explore Other Groups

random page

  go to the Tree of Life home page