The morphological evolution of the Adephaga (Coleoptera)
The evolution of the coleopteran suborder Adephaga is discussed based on a robust phylogenetic background. Analyses of morphological characters yield results nearly identical to recent molecular phylogenies, with the highly specialized Gyrinidae placed as sister to the remaining families, which form two large, reciprocally monophyletic subunits, the aquatic Haliplidae + Dytiscoidea (Meruidae, Noteridae, Aspidytidae, Amphizoidae, Hygrobiidae, Dytiscidae) on one hand, and the terrestrial Geadephaga (Trachypachidae + Carabidae) on the other. The ancestral habitat of Adephaga, either terrestrial or aquatic, remains ambiguous. The former option would imply two or three independent invasions of aquatic habitats, with very different structural adaptations in larvae of Gyrinidae, Haliplidae and Dytiscoidea.