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Comp Cytogenet. 2013 Jun 13;7(2):171-90. doi: 10.3897/CompCytogen.v7i2.5223. eCollection 2013.

Karyotypes of some medium-sized Dytiscidae (Agabinae and Colymbetinae) (Coleoptera).

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School of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham Hill, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, UK ; Department of Life Sciences (Entomology), The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK.


An account is given of the karyotypes of 29 species of medium sized Dytiscidae (Coleoptera). Of the 20 species of Agabus Leach, 1817, 18 have karyotypes comprising 21 pairs of autosomes and sex chromosomes which are either X0(♂) or XX (♀). These species are Agabus serricornis (Paykull, 1799), Agabus labiatus (Brahm, 1791), Agabus congener (Thunberg, 1794), Agabus lapponicus (Thomson, 1867), Agabus thomsoni (J. Sahlberg, 1871), Agabus confinis (Gyllenhal, 1808), Agabus sturmii (Gyllenhal, 1808), Agabus bipustulatus (Linnaeus, 1767), Agabus nevadensis Håkan Lindberg, 1939, Agabus wollastoni Sharp, 1882, Agabus melanarius Aubé, 1837, Agabus biguttatus (Olivier, 1795), Agabus binotatus Aubé, 1837, Agabus affinis (Paykull, 1798), Agabus unguicularis (Thomson, 1867), Agabus ramblae Millan & Ribera, 2001, Agabus conspersus (Marsham, 1802) and Agabus nebulosus (Forster, 1771). However two species, Agabus infuscatus Aubé, 1838 and Agabus adpressus Aubé, 1837, have developed a neo-XY system, with karyotypes comprising 21 pairs of autosomes and XY sex chromosomes (♂). No chromosomal differences have been detected between typical Agabus bipustulatus and Agabus bipustulatus var. solieri Aubé, 1837, nor have any been found between the three species of the Agabus bipustulatus complex (Agabus bipustulatus, Agabus nevadensis and Agabus wollastoni). The four species of Colymbetes Clairville, 1806, Colymbetes fuscus (Linnaeus, 1758), Colymbetes paykulli Erichson, 1837, Colymbetes piceus Klug, 1834 and Colymbetes striatus (Linnaeus, 1758) have karyotypes comprising 20 pairs of autosomes and sex chromosomes which are X0 (♂), XX (♀). Two of the species of Rhantus Dejean, 1833, Rhantus exsoletus (Forster, 1771) and Rhantus suturellus (Harris, 1828) have karyotypes comprising 20 pairs of autosomes and X0/XX sex chromosomes, but the other three species, Rhantus grapii (Gyllenhal, 1808), Rhantus frontalis (Marsham, 1802) and Rhantus suturalis (Macleay, 1825) have 22 pairs of autosomes and X0/XX sex chromosomes. Agabus congener and Rhantus suturellus may have one B-chromosome. Nine of the species have previously published karyotype data but for seven of these the data are wrong and are here corrected.


Agabus; Chromosomes; Colymbetes; Dytiscidae; Rhantus; karyotypes; sex chromosome systems

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