Microsporus obsidianus, copyright Udo Schmidt.

Belongs within: Coleoptera.

The Myxophaga are a group of small, algae-feeding, aquatic or semi-aquatic beetles. Adults respire via a plastron of air trapped by a dense pile of hydrophobic hairs, and contain the wings beneath the elytra by a rolling mechanism. Larvae, where known, possess tracheal gills and pupate within the last larval exuvium. The larval gills are segmented in Torridincolidae and balloon-like in Hydroscaphidae and Microsporus (Grimaldi & Engel 2005).

<==Myxophaga [Microsporoidea, Schizophoroidea, Sphaeriusoidea]
    |--Hadeocoleus P02 [Schizophoridae GE05]
    |    `--H. calus P02
    `--+--Catiniidae GE05
       `--+--Hydroscaphidae MW15
          |    |--Scaphydra Reichardt 1973 H01
          |    |--Yara Reichardt & Hinton 1976 H01
          |    `--Hydroscapha LeConte 1874 H01
          |         |--H. granulum (Motschulsky 1855) B14
          |         `--H. natans LeConte 1874 H01
          `--+--Torridincolidae MW15
             |    |--Torrindicola rhodesica MW15, GE05
             |    `--Deleveinae B14
             |         |--Satonius stysi Hájek & Fikáček 2008 B14
             |         `--Delevea MW15
             `--+--Lepicerus [Cyathoceridae, Lepiceridae, Lepicerinae, Lepiceroidea] MW15
                |    |--L. bufo B14
                |    |--L. inaequalis Motschulsky 1855 B14
                |    `--L. pichinlingue B14
                `--Microsporus Kolenati 1846 LM87 (see below for synonymy)
                     |--*M. obsidianus Kolenati 1846 LM87
                     |--*Sphaerius’ acaroides Waltl 1838 LM87
                     |--M. coenensis (Oke 1954) LM87 [=Neosphaerius coenensis LM87, Sphaerius coenensis B70]
                     |--‘Sphaerius’ hispanicus B14
                     |--M. ovensensis (Oke 1954) LM87 [=*Neosphaerius ovensensis LM87, Sphaerius ovensensis B74]
                     `--‘Sphaerius’ spinissimus B14

Microsporus Kolenati 1846 LM87 [incl. Neosphaerius Oke 1954 LM87, Sphaerius Waltl 1838 (nom. rej.) LM87; Microsporidae, Sphaeriusidae MW15]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B14] Bouchard, P. (ed.) 2014. The Book of Beetles: A lifesize guide to six hundred of nature's gems. Ivy Press: Lewes (United Kingdom).

[B70] Britton, E. B. 1970. Coleoptera (beetles). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers pp. 495–621. Melbourne University Press.

[B74] Britton, E. B. 1974. Coleoptera (beetles). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers. Supplement 1974 pp. 62–89. Melbourne University Press.

[GE05] Grimaldi, D., & M. S. Engel. 2005. Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press: New York.

[H01] Hall, W. E. 2001. Hydroscaphidae LeConte, 1874. In: Arnett, R. H., Jr & M. C. Thomas (eds) American Beetles vol. 1. Archostemata, Myxophaga, Adephaga, Polyphaga: Staphyliniformia pp. 27–29. CRC Press: Boca Raton.

[LM87] Lawrence, J. F., B. P. Moore, J. E. Pyke & T. A. Weir. 1987. Zoological Catalogue of Australia vol. 4. Coleoptera: Archostemata, Myxophaga and Adephaga. Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra.

[MW15] McKenna, D. D., A. L. Wild, K. Kanda, C. L. Bellamy, R. G. Beutel, M. S. Caterino, C. W. Farnum, D. C. Hawks, M. A. Ivie, M. L. Jameson, R. A. B. Leschen, A. E. Marvaldi, J. V. McHugh, A. F. Newton, J. A. Robertson, M. K. Thayer, M. F. Whiting, J. F. Lawrence, A. Ślipiński, D. R. Maddison & B. D. Farrell. 2015. The beetle tree of life reveals that Coleoptera survived end-Permian mass extinction to diversify during the Cretaceous terrestrial revolution. Systematic Entomology 40 (4): 835–880.

[P02] Ponomarenko, A. G. 2002. Superorder Scarabaeidea Laicharting, 1781. Order Coleoptera Linné, 1758. The beetles. In: Rasnitsyn, A. P., & D. L. J. Quicke (eds) History of Insects pp. 164–176. Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht.

Last updated: 26 October 2018.


  1. The genus name Microsporus (Kolenati 1846) is a junior synonym of Sphaerius (Waltl 1838).

    1. Thanks for your comment, Doug. Sphaerius Waltl 1838 was suppressed by the ICZN in 1985 (BZN 42: 230).


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