Notes on Australian Cerambycidae. II. Notes on the genus Syllitus, with descriptions of new species
The genus Syllitus forms a small but extremely interesting group of the Cerambycidae, which on account of the small size and dull coloration of its members appears to be generally overlooked and neglected by collectors, and there is little doubt that systematic collecting would add considerably to the number of known species.
Although the insects are mostly of small size and sombre coloration when viewed with the naked eye, a microscopic examination reveals them to be of considerable beauty, diverse in the arrangement of the raised costae and the sculpture of the elytra.
The genus Syllitus was founded by Pascoe in 1858 (Trans. Ent. Soc. Lond. (N.S.), v, p. 24) for the reception of Stenoderus grammicus, S. deustus, and S. rectus, all of which had been described by Newman. Pascoe considered that these species were "so different, yet so closely allied to each other, that their separation as a distinct group is advisable. I propose for it, therefore, the name of Syllitus; technically it may be at once distinguished from Stenoderus by its large oblong entire eyes." Later, in 1862 (Journ. Ent., i, 5, April, 1862, p. 366), he amplified this diagnostic character, and stated that: "I proposed to separate, under the name of Syllitus, those species of Stenoderus with elevated longitudinal lines on the elytra, from the ordinary red and black ones which constituted the genus originally." Further, in 1864 (Trans. Ent. Soc. Lond., iii (3), 1864–69, p. 554–5), he added that, with one exception—S. albipennis, from Morty—the eyes were "coarsely granulate", a character which holds good for the known Australian species.
The affinities of Stenoderus and Syllitus are undoubtedly very close, and their separation is somewhat arbitrary, as is the case with other Cerambycid genera, yet they fall into two convenient and recognizable groups, so that the distinction may be permitted to remain on the ground of expediency and the lack of more satisfactory generic characters upon which the separation could be based.