Family Staphylinidae - Rove Beetles
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga (Water, Rove, Scarab, Long-horned, Leaf and Snout Beetles)
Superfamily Staphylinoidea (Rove, Carrion and Fungus Beetles)
Family Staphylinidae (Rove Beetles)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Includes Brathinidae, Dasyceridae, Empelidae, Micropeplidae, Oxytelidae, Oxyporidae, Pselaphidae, Scaphidiidae and Scydmaenidae.
Explanation of Names
Author of family is Latreille
(σαφυλινοσ) 'a type of insect', from σαφυλη 'a bunch of grapes'(1)
The largest beetle family in our area, with ca. 4,400 described (+ numerous undescribed) spp. in 540 genera of 26 subfamilies(2)(3)
; current estimates for our area are 5,050-5,250 (M.K. Thayer, pers.comm. to =v=, 15.viii.2011). Lumping the former Scydmaenidae into this already huge family makes it the largest animal family, with 55,440 recognized species (incl. extinct ones) as of the end of 2007 (Newton, 2007, slightly updated), thus surpassing the Curculionidae (estimated 51,000 spp.) (Gaston 1991; Oberprieler et al. 2007; Grebennikov & Newton 2009).
Overview of our fauna (DRAFT):
Taxa not yet in the guide are marked (*); missing non-native genera, (+). NB:
Taxonomy substantially updated from(2)
Tribe Omaliini Acruliopsis
Tribe Anthophagini Acidota
Tribe Coryphiini Boreaphilus
Subtribe Panaphantina Bibloplectus
Subtribe Trimiina Actiastes
Subtribe Oxypodina *Calodera
Tribe Geostibini *Aloconota
Subtribe Athetina *Adota
Tribe Falagriini Aleodorus
Tribe Oxytelini *Aploderus
Tribe Xantholinini *Crinolinus
Subtribe Philonthina Belonuchus
0.7-25 mm, most 1-10 mm
Modern online keys, gallery, etc. in(4)
Thin, active beetles with shortened elytra that do not, at first glance, resemble beetles. In typical form, body appears to be divided into four parts when viewed from above. Family characteristics:
body shape typically elongated, with parallel sides
elytra short (about same length as pronotum, or only slightly longer; wings are functional in most), typically exposing 3-6 (usually 5-6) abdominal segments, though abdomen concealed in a few, e.g.
coloration usually dark but some brightly colored
antennae thread-like or clubbed
tarsal formula variable, usually 5-5-5 (sometimes 4-5-5, 5-4-4, etc.)
Some species run with abdomen curled up over thorax as if it were a stinger but no rove beetle has a stinger. Members of the genus Paederus
contain a potent toxin, pederin, able to cause a long-lasting painful/itchy welt on the skin.
Distinguishing staphylinid from carabid larvae
(per Margaret Thayer
's pers. comm. to Jim McClarin)
Carabid larvae have 6-segmented legs and often 2 claws, while staphs have 5-segmented legs and always only 1 claw
nearly all carabids have the urgomphi solidly attached (not jointed) to segment 9, and at least some of the ones that do have them articulated basally have more than 2 segments, which staphs never have. Staphs almost always have the urogomphi articulated and they have only 1-2 segments; the ones with solid urogomphi are tiny and quite different in form from carabid larvae.
Helpful habitus images representing most subfamilies on one plate:(5)
Often found under rocks, logs, etc. Some found on edges of bodies of water, others on carrion, decaying fungi, etc.
Most adults and larvae are predatory on other invertebrates. Some larvae feed on decaying vegetation.
Fairly distinctive among beetles, could be mistaken for earwigs (Dermaptera
) at first glance
however, several other beetle families include brachypterous forms:
most of them, though, are unable to conceal their hind wings under the covers completely while at rest, others lost the hind wings completely, but a few can be really hard to tell from above
Gaston K.J. (1991) The magnitude of global insect species richness. Conservation Biology 5: 283–296.
Grebennikov V.V., Newton A.F. (2009) Good-bye Scydmaenidae, or why the ant-like stone beetles should become megadiverse Staphylinidae sensu latissimo (Coleoptera). European Journal of Entomology 106: 275–301. Full text
Newton A.F. (2007) Documenting biodiversity: how well are we doing in Staphyliniformia (Coleoptera)? Entomological Society of America poster presentation D0471.
Oberprieler R.G., Marvaldi A.E., Anderson, R.S. (2007) Weevils, weevils, weevils everywhere. Zootaxa 1668: 491–520. Full text
|4.||Staphylinidae of eastern Canada and the adjacent United States. Keys to subfamilies; Staphylininae: ...|
Brunke A., Newton A., Klimaszewski J., Majka C.G., Marshall S. 2011. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification 12: 1-110.