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Family Staphylinidae - Rove Beetles

Rove Beetle larva? rove beetle - Platydracus Philonthus palliatus (Gravenhorst) - Philonthus palliatus - male Staphylinidae - Omalium repandum  Palaminus larvalis ? - Palaminus Quedius (Raphirus) sublimbatus Maklin - Quedius sublimbatus Another Sepedophilus - Sepedophilus - male Homaeotarsus? - Homaeotarsus
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga
No Taxon (Series Staphyliniformia)
Superfamily Staphylinoidea
Family Staphylinidae (Rove Beetles)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Includes members of former families Brathinidae, Dasyceridae, Empelidae, Micropeplidae, Oxytelidae, Oxyporidae, Pselaphidae, Scaphidiidae, and Scydmaenidae.
massive changes in higher taxonomy introduced in (1) but not yet implemented in the guide
Explanation of Names
Staphylinidae Latreille 1802
The largest animal 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). World's largest animal family (although Ichneumonidae may be even larger, with 60,000 spp.), with ~56,000 spp. in 3500 genera(4)
Overview of our fauna* –taxa not yet in the guide; + -missing non-native genera. NB: classification substantially updated since (2)
Subfamily Omaliinae
Subfamily Empelinae Empelus
Subfamily Pselaphinae
Supertribe Faronitae
Supertribe Euplectitae
Section Euplectomorphi
   Subtribe Rhexiina Rhexius
   Subtribe Bibloporina Bibloporus
Tribe Jubini Sebaga
Supertribe Batrisitae
Supertribe Goniaceritae
Section Brachyglutomorphi
   Subtribe Decarthrina Decarthron
   Subtribe Eupseniina Eupsenius
Section Tychomorphi
Tribe Valdini Valda
Supertribe Pselaphitae
Section Ctenistomorphi
Tribe Tyrini
   Subtribe Tyrina *Anitra · Cedius · Ceophyllus · Mipseltyrus · Tyrus
   Subtribe Hamotina Hamotus · Upoluna
Section Pselaphomorphi
Supertribe Clavigeritae
Subfamily Scydmaeninae
Subfamily Tachyporinae
Subfamily Aleocharinae
Tribe Oxypodini
   Subtribe Phloeoporina Phloeopora
Tribe Homalotini
   Subtribe Leptusina *Dianusa · +Heterota · Leptusa
   Subtribe Silusina Silusa
   Subtribe Diestotina Diestota
Tribe Athetini
   Subtribe Acrotonina Acrotona · *Mocyta · *Strigota
   Subtribe Lomechusina Xenodusa
Subfamily Scaphidiinae
Subfamily Osoriinae
Subfamily Oxytelinae
Subfamily Oxyporinae Oxyporus
Subfamily Steninae Stenus · Dianous
Subfamily Euaesthetinae
Subfamily Paederinae
Tribe Paederini
   Subtribe Scopaeina Orus · Scopaeus
   Subtribe Astenina Astenus
   Subtribe Paedeina Paederus
   Subtribe Procirrina Palaminus
Subfamily Xantholininae
Subfamily Staphylininae
   Subtribe Amblyopinina Heterothops
   Subtribe Xanthopygina Xanthopygus
   Subtribe Anisolinina Tympanophorus
   Subtribe Hyptiomina Holisus
0.7‒25 mm
Modern online keys, gallery, etc. (5)
useful key here (Legner yyyy)
keys to larvae in (6)
elytra typically short (about as long as pronotum; wings functional in most), exposing 3-6 (usually 5-6) abdominal segments, though abdomen concealed in a few, e.g.

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:(7)
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.
When threatened, these beetles release a potent odor from the stink glands in their abdomens. They also will raise their tails bfore spraying.(8)
See Also
Fairly distinctive among beetles, could be mistaken for earwigs (Dermaptera) at first glance
however, brachypterous forms are found in many beetle families, e.g.:

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
Print References
Grebennikov V.V., Newton A.F. (2009) Good-bye Scydmaenidae, or why the ant-like stone beetles should become megadiverse Staphylinidae sensu latissimo (Coleoptera). Eur. J. Entomol. 106: 275‒301. Full text
Oberprieler R.G., Marvaldi A.E., Anderson R.S. (2007) Weevils, weevils, weevils everywhere. Zootaxa 1668: 491–520. Full text
Internet References
Family overview (Frank & Thomas 1999‒2012)(9)