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Tridactyloidea Brullé, 1835

Members of the superfamily Tridactyloidea are generally small, obscure orthopterans of cryptic habits, characterised by their highly derived morphology, which is remarkably convergent on that of certain Grylloidea. Indeed, the tridactyloids were historically classified with the true mole crickets in the family Gryllotalpidae (e.g. Audinet- Serville 1838; Tillyard 1926; Tindale 1928), though their caeliferan identity was demonstrated beyond any doubt by Ander (1934). In terms of their taxonomy, the Tridactyloidea are one of the best known of the basal Caelifera, having been the focus of numerous careful revisionary studies by the late Kurt K. Günther (e.g. 1969, 1972, 1977, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994a,b, 1995).

The superfamily as presently defined (sensu Heads, 2010) includes three families: Cylindrachetidae Giglio-Tos, 1914 (sandgropers); Ripipterygidae Ander, 1939 (ripipterygids); and Tridactylidae Brullé, 1835 (pygmy mole crickets). Monophyly of the group is supported by a number of morphological characters including: the subgenital plate simple, lacking styli and formed from the ninth abdominal sternite in both sexes; development of abdominal repugnatorial glands; metatarsus reduced to a single tarsomere; and males with a bipartite paraproct, bearing highly sclerotized basal hooks and distinctive distal cerciform lobes (lost in Cylindrachetidae) (see Heads 2009, 2010).


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Supplier: Sam Heads

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