Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

NOTE: As of 2014, the California Beetle Project page is no longer updated. The original database and list of California beetles in the menu on the left will remain for the time being, but the information contained within is not necessarily current. SBMNH Entomology Curator Matthew L. Gimmel has divided up the function of the original database into two conceptual halves:

  1. The SBMNH Entomology specimen-level database, including all SBMNH beetle specimens included in the CBP database, which is now available (and ever-growing) through the ecdysis portal at

  2. A literature- (and available specimen-)based checklist.
  3. of the Coleoptera of California, which is being revised and re-compiled by Dr. Gimmel, and, as of January 2017, is about 85% complete.

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Funded in part by award DEB0447694 from the National Science Foundation to M. Caterino.

Last updated 01/16/2009

 California Beetle Project > Phylogeography


Phylogeography is the study of genetic relationships among populations of a species across a region. This tells us about how frequently individuals from one area disperse to another, or conversely, how long populations in different areas have been isolated from each other. This information is very important to conservation as it helps guide the protection of maximal genetic diversity in each species.

During the California Beetle Project, the phylogeographic relationships of numerous different beetle species were examined, trying to understand the levels of differentiation and connectedness of populations in and across the Transverse Ranges. These mountains, which extend from western Santa Barbara County to eastern Riverside County have been considered by many California biologists to represent a major barrier to north-south movement of species, and a breakpoint where species ranges often end. By comparing genetic relationships across a variety of beetle species we were able to better characterize the complexity and consistency of this pattern in light of major geological events such as mountain uplift, sea level flucutation, and climatic shifts. Understanding how species responded to such events in the past, we may begin to predict how they might respond to changes in the future.

Species examined

Over the course of the project we conducted intensive work on the following species (linked to photographs). Please see the project publications page for reference to the detailed studies.

        Calathus ruficollis (Carabidae)
        Stictotarsus striatellus (Dytiscidae)
        Anacaena signaticollis (Hydrophilidae)
        Cercyon fimbriatus (Hydrophilidae)
        Hypocaccus lucidulus (Histeridae)
        Sepedophilus castaneus (Staphylinidae)
        Hadrotes crassus (Staphylinidae)
        Thinopinus pictus (Staphylinidae)
        Eubrianax edwardsii (Psephenidae)
        Zarhipis integripennis (Phengodidae)
        Phloeodes diabolicus (Zopheridae)
        Nyctoporis carinatus (Tenebrionidae)
        Coelus ciliatus (Tenebrionidae)
        Geodercodes latipennis (Curculionidae)
        Ips paraconfusus (Curculionidae: Scolytinae)

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