Family Ptinidae - Death-watch and Spider Beetles
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga (Water, Rove, Scarab, Long-horned, Leaf and Snout Beetles)
Superfamily Bostrichoidea (Carpet, Powder-post and Death-watch Beetles)
Family Ptinidae (Death-watch and Spider Beetles)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Ptinidae is the correct name for the family(1)
Explanation of Names
"Death-watch" from the ticking sound made by the beetles from within the timbers of old houses, interpreted as an omen of death(2)
. Compare Keats's Beset with painful gusts, within ye hear // No sound so loud as when on curtain’d bier // The death-watch tick is stifled.
(Endymion Book IV
>400 spp. in 63 genera in our area, (>2,200 spp. in ~220 genera worldwide)(3)
; ca. 90 species in 37 genera in Canada and Alaska(4)
Overview of our fauna:
Taxa not yet in the guide are marked (*)
Subfamily Ptininae Gibbium, Gnostus, Mezium, Niptinus, Niptus, *Pseudeurostus, Ptinus, *Pitnus, *Sphaericus, *Tipnus, Trigonogenius
1-9 mm, usually <5 mm
hard-to-define group; no easy characters are found that apply to all
Wisconsin fauna treated in(1)
worldwide and throughout N. America; distribution of individual spp. in(5)
Predominantly wood-borers as larvae; presumably this is the primal mode of life within the family. Adults and larvae of several species feed on a variety of dry plant (rarely: animal) materials, including dry dung, plant stems, dry fungi; some are considered pests of stored products (grain, cereals, tobacco), furniture, and museum specimens.
|1.||Death-watch and spider beetles of Wisconsin—Coleoptera: Ptinidae|
Arango, R.A. and D.K. Young. 2012. General Technical Report FPL-GTR-209. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory.
|3.||American Beetles, Volume II: Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea|
Arnett, R.H., Jr., M. C. Thomas, P. E. Skelley and J. H. Frank. (eds.). 2002. CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, FL.