The cephalic morphology of the troglobiontic cholevine species Troglocharinus ferreri (Coleoptera, Leiodidae)
Leiodidae are the second largest subterranean radiation of beetles at family rank. To explore morphological trends linked with troglobiontic habits and characters with potential phylogenetic significance, the head of the cave‐dwelling species Troglocharinus ferreri (Cholevinae, Leptodirini) was examined in detail. Overall, the general pattern is similar to what is found in Catops ventricosus (Cholevini). Shared apomorphic features include a fully exposed anterolateral concavity containing the antennal socket, a distinct bead above this depression, a bilobed lip‐like structure anterad the labrum, a flat elevated portion of the ventral mandibular surface, and a ventral process at the proximomesal edge of this mandibular area. The tentorial structures are well‐developed as in C. ventricosus, with a large laminatentorium and somewhat shortened dorsal arms. The mouthparts are largely unmodified, with the exception of unusually well‐developed extrinsic maxillary muscles. Features of T. ferreri obviously linked with subterranean habits are the complete lack of compound eyes, circumocular ridges, and optic lobes. A series of characters is similar to conditions found in other genera of Leptodirini: the head capsule completely lacks a protruding ocular region, a distinct neck is missing, the transverse occipital crest is indistinct, and the antennae are elongate and lack a distinct club. Two different trends of cephalic transformations occur in troglobiontic Leptodirini, with some genera like Troglocharinus and Leptodirus having elongated head capsules and antennae, and others having broadened, more transverse heads. In contrast, the modifications are more uniform in the closely related Ptomaphagini, with a pattern distinctly differing from Leptodirini: the head is transverse, with a distinctly protruding ocular region, a distinct transverse occipital crest, and a very narrow neck region.