A cladistic analysis based on 81 morphological characters was performed in order to determine the phylogenetic relationships of 11 species of Epicauta from South America. We find that the 11 South American species constitute a monophyletic group together with all the North American species of the Epicauta maculata group. Within this clade, the 11 species from South America conforms an apical monophyletic group within the E. maculata group. We propose to maintain the validity of the Epicauta maculata group, but also to redefine it with new characters. The South American species of the Epicauta maculata group are also described and illustrated. We propose the following nomenclatural changes: Epicauta rosilloi Martínez, junior synonym of Epicauta minutepunctata Borchmann; Epicauta fourcadei Denier, junior synonym of Epicauta fulvicornis (Burmeister), and Epicauta breyeri Denier, junior synonym of Epicauta nigropunctata Blanchard. We provide an identification key, new host plant associations, and updated geographic distribution.
Campos-SoldiniM.P. & Roig-JuñentS.A. (2011) Redefinition of the vittata species group of EpicautaDejean (1834) (Coleoptera: Meloidae) and taxonomic revision of the species from southern South America. Zootaxa2824: 21–43.
CurtisJ. (1845) Descriptions of the insects collected by Capitan P. P. King, R.N., F. R. S. & L. S., in the survey of the Straits of Magellan. The Transsactions of the Linnean Socitey of London. 19: 441–475.
Di IorioO.R. (2004) Meloidae. In: Cordo H. A. Logarzo G. Braun K. and O. R. Di Iorio (Eds) Catalogo de insectos fitófagos de la Argentina y sus plantas asociadas. Sociedad Entomológica Argentina Tucumán Argentina pp. 165–175.
LawrenceJ.F. & NewtonA.F.Jr. (1995) Families and subfamilies of Coleoptera (with selected genera, notes, references and data on familygroup names). Biology Phylogeny and Classification of Coleoptera: Papers celebrating the 80th birthday of Roy A. Crowson. Muzeum I Instytut Zoologii PAN Waszawa pp. 779–1006.
MorroneJ.J. (2006) Biogeographic areas and transition zones of Latin America and the Caribbean islands based on panbiogeographic and cladistic analysis of the entomofauna. Annual Review of Entomology51: 467–494.
PintoJ.D. (1972b) Comparative courtship behavior of Negalius, Phodaga and Cordylospasta, three closely related genera of blister beetles (Coleoptera: Meloidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomology Society45: 459–476.
PintoJ.D. (1975) The taxonomy of three species of maculate Epicauta (Coleoptera: meloidae), with description of courtship behavior and first instar larvaE. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society48: 429–452.
PintoJ.D. (1991) The taxonomy of North American Epicauta (Coleoptera: Meloidae), with a revision of the nominate subgenus and a survey of courtship behaviour. University of California Publications in Entomology110: 1–372.
SayT. (1824) Descriptions of coleopterous insects collected in the late expedition to the Rocky Mountains, performed by order of Mr. Calhoun, Secretary of War, under the command of Major Long.Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences Philadelphia3: 298–331.