Oberprieler, Rolf G., Marvaldi, Adriana E. & Anderson, Robert S., 2007, Weevils, weevils, weevils everywhere *, Zootaxa 1668, pp. 491-520 : 500

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.274039

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With approximately 2 500 described species in 150 genera and a cosmopolitan distribution, the Attelabidae are another successful group of weevils. Like Anthribidae , they seem to have achieved their success in diversity also through association with fungi, their larvae developing on withering plant tissues that may be indirectly or directly infected with fungi. In contrast to anthribids, however, female attelabids prepare their oviposition site with their rostrum, which is further modified from the belid condition by the fusion of the gular sutures and the reduction of the ligula. The rostrum is used to variously sever the sap flow in a living plant organ (stem, leaf, bud, fruit) and cause it to wilt or drop off, with the larva feeding on the decaying tissues. In advanced Attelabinae , females roll leaves into elaborate, cigar-like nidi (nests) in which they lay their eggs and which they can inoculate with fungal spores carried in special mycetangia next to their hind coxae (fig. 5). Attelabidae are predominantly associated with angiosperms, only a few primitive ones living on conifers ( Cupressaceae , Pinaceae ) but indicating these to probably constitute the ancestral hosts of the family.

The Attelabidae generally comprise two subfamilies, Rhynchitinae and Attelabinae , with about equal numbers of described species. Though treated as separate families by some authors (e.g., Zimmerman 1994 a, Legalov 2004, 2005), the two groups share several synapomorphic characters ( Thompson 1992, Kuschel 1995, Marvaldi & Morrone 2000) and together evidently constitute a monophyletic group. The Attelabinae are strongly indicated to be monophyletic as well, but the same cannot be said for the Rhynchitinae (defined only by the phylogenetically weak characters of appendiculate claws and exodont mandibles) and it remains to be demonstrated that they are not paraphyletic with respect to Attelabinae . Phylogenetic analyses of tribal relationships in both subfamilies were recently published by Legalov (2004, 2005), but they are based on numerous spurious characters of doubtful phylogenetic value and an unproven cladistic algorithm and require critical assessment. Presently therefore, phylogenetic relationships within Attelabidae remain unresolved.