My research interests are associated mainly with the systematics and evolution of the hister beetles. The Histeridae contains about 4,000 described species and has a worldwide distribution. They live in diverse habitats and niches and are mainly predators of other insects, especially fly, flea, and beetle larvae. I have a particular interest in the myrmecophilous (ant-associated) and termitophilous (termite-associated) members of the subfamily Hetaeriinae. My Ph.D. project was devoted to a systematic revision of several genera of neotropical myrmecophilous hetaeriines of the genus complex Mesynodites (see Tishechkin 2005). This monograph brings phylogenetic order to what has been a confusing polyphyletic assemblage of genera with unclear interrelations and is a necessary step to understanding the phylogenetic relationships within the entire subfamily. The Hetaeriinae is extremely diverse in the neotropical realm, where it includes about one-third of all histerid genera known. This diversity has evolved in association with a wide variety of social insect hosts, especially army and fungus growing ants and termites. I am addressing questions of host specificity, coevolution, and guest adaptations in my current research on Mesynodites and will deal with these issues on a larger scale for the whole subfamily in the future. Improving the taxonomic knowledge of the subfamily also will allow me to gain insight into distributional and diversity patterns of this primarily tropical forest taxon to contribute to general surveys of tropical biodiversity.
On a broader scale, I have strong interests in the systematics and faunistics of the Histeridae worldwide, especially in the Palearctic, Nearctic, and Neotropics, and collateral interests in natural history and evolution of social insect inquilines, biodiversity research and conservation biology.
Microsynodites schmidti Lewis
Trichoreninus geminus Reichensperger.