Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Coleoptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Including Apateticidae, Brathinidae, Dasyceridae, Micropeplidae, Oxytelidae, Oxyporidae, etc.

Rove Beetles, Devil's Coach-horse Beetles.

General appearance. 0.7–24 mm long. Body length/maximum body width 1.35–10. Elytral length/pronotal length 0.55–3.55. Base of prothorax not or scarcely narrower than the combined elytral bases, or distinctly narrower than the combined elytral bases. Greatest prothoracic width not narrower or only slightly narrower than the greatest elytral width, or distinctly narrower than greatest elytral width. Beetles elongate to slender; dorsally flattened, or cylindric (usually more or less fusiform); conspicuously necked; not waisted to conspicuously waisted. Upper surfaces of body glabrous or subglabrous, or non-glabrous; exhibiting stiff, erect, dark bristles, or not bristly; with neither scales nor scale-like setae, or exhibiting scales or scale-like setae.

Detailed morphology. Inclination of the head slight to strong. Eyes present, or absent (sometimes); strongly protuberant, or not strongly protuberant; bristly, or without bristles. Ocelli present (in Omaliinae), or absent; when present, paired. The labrum at least partly visible in antero-dorsal view; labrum mostly moderately to heavily sclerotized (mostly), or mostly membranous or only very lightly sclerotized. Mandibles absent or vestigial (in some Omaliinae), or present; variously with a well developed mola, or with a reduced mola, or without a mola. The mandibular apices simple, or bidentate or bilobed. The incisor edges of the mandibles variously simple, or with a single tooth, or with two or more teeth. The maxillae with distinct galea and lacinia apically to the palp; with stylet-like lobes (in some Aleocharinae), or without stylet-like lobes. The apical segment of the maxillary palps variously cylindrical to fusiform, or somewhat expanded and truncate to subtriangular, or aciculate (in several groups). The apical segment of the labial palps more or less expanded apically, or not expanded apically. Antennae short to long, but not exceeding the insect’s head to tail length; (10–)11 segmented (rarely fewer?); with the scape much-elongated; filiform (or moniliform), or clubbed (sometimes, weakly). Antennal insertions visible from above, or hidden from above; ‘countersunk’ within saucer-like fossae (e.g., some Pselaphinae), or not in fossae.

Cervical sclerites present (mostly), or absent. Prothorax longer than wide. Pronotal length/maximum pronotal width 0.3–1.46. The pronotum with lateral keels (pronotal carinae), or without lateral keels; keels when present, variously complete, or incomplete. Posterior edge of the pronotum distinctly crenulate (some Omaliinae), or not crenulate. Prothorax at its widest not markedly narrower than the adjoining part of the abdomen. Prothorax without notopleural sutures. Scutellum conspicuous to highly reduced, or absent; when applicable, elevated above the mesoscutum in lateral view, or not elevated; anteriorly simple; posteriorly narrowly rounded or acute, or broadly rounded or obtusely angulate, or truncate. The prosternal process present, or absent; when present, variously complete, or incomplete; when applicable, falling short of the mesoventrite to moderately or strongly overlapping the mesoventrite. Metaventrite with a transverse groove, or without a transverse groove. The fore-leg coxae countersunk in ‘procoxal cavities’, or attached externally, in the absence of procoxal cavities. The fore-leg coxal cavities when applicable, open behind externally; broadly open; variously medianly confluent, or narrowly separated, or quite widely separated; strongly transverse, or slightly transverse, or circular to longer than wide; with narrow lateral extensions, or without lateral extensions; internally open, or internally closed by a slender bar, or broadly closed internally. The mid-leg coxae countersunk in ‘mesocoxal cavities’, or attached externally, in the absence of mesocoxal cavities; separated by when countersunk, less than the shortest diameter of the cavity, or more than the shortest diameter of the cavity. The mid-leg coxal cavities when present, contiguous, or narrowly separated, or moderately to widely separated; not or scarcely oblique to markedly oblique; when present, open laterally, or closed laterally. Hind-leg coxae variously contiguous or narrowly separated, or widely separated; extending laterally to meet the elytra, or not markedly extended laterally. Tarsal segmentation formula very variable in the family. The tarsi without bilobed segments; with a tiny basal segment that is hard to detect, or without ‘hidden’ segments. Front tarsi with as many segments as the mid-tarsi, or with one segment fewer than the mid-tarsi; 3-segmented, or 4-segmented, or 5-segmented. Mid-leg tarsi 3-segmented, or 4-segmented, or 5-segmented; variously pentamerous, or pseudotetramerous (the penutimate one), or tetramerous, or pseudotrimeous, or trimerous; the penultimate segment not distinctly shorter than the antepenultimate one. The claws of the mid-leg tarsi not appendaged. The claws of the mid-leg tarsi simple; with an empodium between them (this with no more than two setae), or without an associated empodium. Hind tarsi with as many segments as the mid-tarsi, or with one segment fewer than the mid-tarsi; 3-segmented, or 4-segmented, or 5-segmented.

Elytral length/maximum width across the elytra 0.4–1.68. Elytra meeting along the length of the mid-line; short, exposing several terminal abdominal tergites (generally leaving more than half of the abdomen exposed, but hindwings always fully developed); exposing at least three complete abdominal tergites; truncate; hard (?), or soft. Elytra with six or more longitudinal lines of punctures, or with six or more impressed striae, or apunctate, irregularly punctate, or each with fewer than 6 longitudinal lines of punctures or impressed striae (commonly); the lines per elytron when more than five, 6–7, or 8 to 9. Scutellary striole absent. Wings well developed, or absent or much reduced; fringed with long hairs on the hind margin, or not fringed. Wings with an anal lobe, or without an anal lobe. Wings without a medial fleck. Abdominal sternites 6–7; all articulated and moveable. Abdominal segment 8 with apparently functional spiracles, or apparently without functional spiracles. The male external genitalia staphylinoid.

Adult habitat, ecology. Predacious (many), or not predacious; in decaying plant material, or in rotting wood, or in dried plant material, or under bark, or associated with dung, or associated with carrion, or on shed fur or feathers, associated with flowers, and under stones (habits and habitats very divers).

Larvae. Mature larvae minute (less than 3 mm long) to relatively large. The larvae elongate and more or less parallel-sided, or oblong to ovate. Body circular in cross-section to strongly flattened. Vestiture restricted to fine hairs or setae, or not restricted to fine hairs or setae. The larvae dorsally heavily pigmented or sclerotized, or dorsally only very lightly pigmented or sclerotized; ventrally more or less heavily pigmented, or ventrally only very lightly pigmented. The antennae 2 segmented (some Pselaphinae), or 3 segmented (commonly), or 4 segmented (Paederine, Steninae). Stemmata present, or absent; on either side of the larval head when present, 1–6. The frontoclypeal suture between frons and clypeus indistinct or absent. The labrum and head capsule separated by a complete suture, or completely fused, with no suture apparent. Apices of the mandibles with a single lobe or tooth, or bilobed or bidentate, or trilobed or tridentate. The maxillary palps 3 segmented, or 4 segmented. The labium without ligula between the palps, or with a short ligula between the palps, or with a ligula at least as long as the palps. Labial palps present and segmented; 2 segmented. Mesothoracic legs present and segmented; 4 segmented (Micropeplinae), or 5 segmented; with 1 moveable claw. Visible abdominal segments 10. Tergum 9 of the abdomen entirely dorsal. The abdomen having functional spiracles on anterior segments (these annular); with anterior and 8th-segmental spiracles borne at the ends of a series of spiracular tubes (the Micropeplinae, Steninae having all the abdominal spiracles borne thus), or without spiracular tubes. The abdominal apex without a respiratory chamber. Abdominal tergum 8 bearing a single median process without apical spiracles, or without amature. The last abdominal segment with cerci, or without cerci.

Larvae predacious, or not predacious; in decaying plant material, or in rotting wood, or in dried plant material, or under bark, or in dung, or in carrion, or in the soil, or in shed fur or feathers, associated with flowers, and under stones.

The larvae are active, with 2-, 3- or 4-segmented antennae and a flexible 10-segmented abdomen.

Classification. Suborder Polyphaga; Infraorder Staphyliniformia; Superfamily Staphilinoidea.

Representation in Britain and Ireland, and worldwide. At least 46000 species worldwide (in thousands of genera ...). 975 species in Britain; genera in Britain 188; Anotylus, Atheta, Bledius, Carpelimus, Dropephylla, Eusphalerum, Gabrius, Gyrophaena, Lathrobium, Lesteva, Megarthrus, Micropeplus, Mycetoporus, Omalium, Othius, Philonthus, Quedius, Scopaeus, Staphylinus, Stenus, Tachyporus, Xantholinus, etc., etc. E.g., Achenium depressum (Depressed Achenium); Bledius furcatus var. skrimshirii (Skrimshirian Bledius); Cafius fucicola (Sea-shore Cafius); Callicerus obscurus (Spencean Staphylinus); Creophilus maxillosus; Dianous coerulescens (Rough Dianous); Emus hirtus (Humble-bee Staphylinus); Falagria thoracica (Red-thoraxed Staphylinus); Gauropterus fulgidus; Hygronoma dimidiata (Ochre-banded Staphylinus); Deleaster dichrous (Leach's Lesteva); Dinarda maerkeli (Dentated Staphylinus); Lathrobium terminatum; Lomechusa emarginata; Metopsia clypeata; Micropeplus tesserula (Irish Micropeplus); Micropeplus fulvus; Creophilus maxillosus (Scarce Oxyporus); Oxyporus rufus; Paederus caligatus; Paederus fuscipes (New Forest Paederus); Philonthus marginatus; Phytosus spinifer; Quedius cruentus; Quedius lateralis, Rugilus fragilis (Red-necked Rugilus); Siagonium quadricorne (Four-horned Staphylinus); Stenus guttula (Kirbian Stenus); Syntomium aeneum (Bronzed Syntomium); Staphylinus pedator (Red-legged Staphylinus).

General comments. The abdomen of these beetles is dorsoventrally very flexible, and the winged forms are capable of becoming airborne with remarkable rapidity..

Illustrations. • Ischnoglossa, Ocyusa, Oxypoda (10 spp.), Thiasophila: Fowler 2, 39 (1888). • Fowler 2, 39 (1888): original legend.. • Atheta (13 spp.) and Nehemitropia sordida: Fowler 2, 47 (1888). • Fowler 2, 47 (1888): original legend.. • Atheta (4 spp.), Borboropora, Gnyepta, Myrmecopora, Tachyusa: Fowler 2, 48 (1888). • Fowler 2, 48 (1888): original legend.. • Autalia, Brachida, Encephalus, Epipeda, Falagria, Gyrophaena (5 spp.), Placusa: Fowler 2, 49 (1888). • Fowler 2, 49 (1888): original legend.. • Actocharis, Bolotochara, Diglotta, Euryusa, Hygronoma, Leptusa, Silusa, Sipalia: Fowler 2, 50 (1888). • Fowler 2, 50 (1888): original legend.. • Deinopsis erosa, Gymnusa (2 spp.), Myllaena (5 spp.), Oligota (4 spp.): Fowler 2, 51 (1888). • Fowler 2, 51 (1888): origina legend.. • Cypha (2 spp.), Sepedophilus (4 spp.), Tachyporus 7 spp.): Fowler 2, 52 (1888). • Fowler 2, 52 (1888): original legend.. • Cilea silphoides, Bolitobius (4 spp.), Tachinus 7 spp.): Fowler 2, 53 (1888). • Fowler 2, 53 (1888): original legend.. • Habrocerus capillaricornis, Lordithon (4 spp.), Mycetoporus (7 spp.), Trichophyla pilicornis: Fowler 2, 54 (1888). • Fowler 2, 54 (1888): original legend.. • Acylophorus glaberrimus, Heterothops, Quedius (8 spp.), Velleius dilatatus: Fowler 2, 55 (1888). • Fowler 2, 55 (1888): original legend.. • Quedius (13 spp.): Fowler 2, 56 (1888). • Fowler 2, 56 (1888): original legend.. • Creophilus maxillosus, Emus hirtus, Ontholestes, Platydracus (4 spp.), Staphylinus (4 spp.): Fowler 2, 57 (1888). • Fowler 2, 57 (1888): original legend.. • Ocypus cyaneus, Philonthus (5 spp.), Staphylinus (7 spp.): Fowler 2, 58 (1888). • Fowler 2, 58 (1888): original legend.. • Philonthus (12 spp.) and Gabrius osseticus: Fowler 9, 59 (1888). • Fowler 2, 59 (1888): original legend.. • Cafius (4 spp.), Gabrius, Gabronthus, Erichsonius, Neobisnius, Philonthus: Fowler 2, 60 (1888). • Fowler 2, 60 (1888): original legend.. • Atrecus, Gyrohypnus, Othius, Leptacinus, Nudobius, Phacophallus, Xantholinus: Fowler 2, 61 (1888). • Fowler 2, 61 (1888): original legend.. • Achenium (2 app.), Lathrobium (11 spp.): Fowler 2, 62 (1888). • Fowler 2, 62 (1888): original legend.. • Astenus, Lithocharis, Medon, Paederus, Rugilus, Scopaeus: Fowler 2, 63 (1888). • Fowler 2, 63 (1888): original legend.. • Dianous, Euaesthetus, Paederus, Stenus (10 spp.): Fowler 2, 64 (1888). • Fowler 2, 64 (1888): original legend. • Bledius furcatus, Oxyporus rufus, Stenus (11 spp.): Fowler 2, 65 (1888). • Fowler 2, 65 (1888): original legend.. • Anotylus, Bledius (7 spp.), Oxytelus, Platystethus (2 spp.): Fowler 2, 66 (1888). • Fowler 2, 66 (1888): original legend.. • Anthophagus, Aploderus, Carpelimus, Coprophilus, Deleaster, Ochthephilus, Planeustomus, Syntomium, Thinobius, Thinodromus: Fowler 2, 67 (1888). • Fowler 2, 67 (1888): original legend.. • Acidota, Anthobium, Anthophagus, Arpedium, Deliphrum, Geoddromicus, Lesteva, Micralymma, Olophrum, Phyllodrepoidea: Fowler 2, 68 (1888). • Fowler 2, 68 (1888): original legend.. • Coryphium, Dryopephylla, Omalium (7 spp., as Homalium), Philorhinum, Phloeonomus, Xylostiba: Fowler 2, 69 (1888). • Fowler 2, 69 (1888): original legend.. • Acrulia, Eusphalerum (4 spp.), Hapalaraea, Metopsia, Pseudopsis, Siagonium: Fowler 2, 70 (1888). • Fowler 2, 70 (1888): original legend.. • Atheta, Calodera, Dinarda, Ilyobates, Ocyusa, Oxypoda, Lomechusoides, Paranopleta, Philhygra, Rhopalocerina, Stichoglossa: Fowler Suppl. 4, 1913. • Fowler Suppl. 4, 1913: original legend.. • Arena, Bryoporus, Gyrophaena, Mycetoporus, Phytosus, Pycnota, Quedius, Tachyusa, Thiasophila: Fowler Suppl. 5, 1913. • Fowler Suppl. 5, 1913: original legend.. • Creophilus maxillosus, Gabrius (7 spp.), Philonothus intermedius, Quedius (4 spp.): Fowler Suppl. 6, 1913. • Fowler Suppl. 6, 1913: original legend.. • Erichsonius, Gabrius, Gyrohypnus, Lathrobium (7 spp.), Neobisnius, Xantholinus (2 spp.): Fowler Suppl. 7, 1913. • Fowler Suppl. 7, 1913: original legend.. • Astenus, Bledius (4 spp.), Lathrobium, Ochthephilus, Oxytellus, Platystethus, Stenus (3 spp.), Sunius: Fowler Suppl. 8, 1913. • Fowler Suppl. 8, 1913: original legend.. • Geodromicus, Lesteva, Olophrum (4 spp.), Micropeplus, Thinobius, Trogolinus (with Clambus): Fowler Suppl. 9, 1913. • Fowler Suppl. 9, 1913: original legend.. • Achenium depressum (B. Ent. 115). • Achenium depressum (details, B. Ent. 115). • Achenium depressum: B. Ent. 115, legend+text. • Achenium depressum: B. Ent. 115, text cont.. • Bledius furcatus (var. skrimshirii Curtis: B. Ent. 143). • Bledius furcatus var. skrimshirii: B. Ent. 143, legend+text. • Bledius furcatus var. skrimshirii: B. Ent. 143, text cont.. • Cafius fucicola (Sea-shore Cafius: B. Ent. 322). • Cafius fucicola: B. Ent. 322, legend+text. • Cafius fucicola: B. Ent. 322, text cont.. • Callicerus obscurus (B. Ent. 443). • Callicerus obscurus: B. Ent. 443, legend+text. • Callicerus obscurus: B. Ent. 443, text cont.. • Creophilus maxillosus (B. Ent. 418). • Creophilus maxillosus: B. Ent. 418, legend+text. • Creophilus maxillosus: B. Ent. 418, text cont.. • Deleaster dichrous (B. Ent. 303). • Deleaster dichrous: B. Ent. 303, legend+text. • Deleaster dichrous: B. Ent. 303, text cont.. • Dianous coerulescens (Rough Dianous: B. Ent. 107). • Dianous coerulescens: B. Ent. 107, legend+text. • Dianous coerulescens: B. Ent. 107, text cont.. • Dinarda maerkeli (B. Ent. 410). • Dinarda maerkeli: B. Ent. 410, legend+text. • Dinarda maerkeli: B. Ent. 410, text cont.. • Emus hirtus (Humble-bee Staphylinus: B. Ent. 534). • Emus hirtus (details, B. Ent. 534). • Emus hirtus: B. Ent. 534, legend+text. • Emus hirtus: B. Ent. 534, text (cont.). • Falagria thoracica (Red-thoraxed Staphylinus: B. Ent. 462). • Falagria thoracica: B. Ent. 462, legend+text. • Falagria thoracica: B. Ent. 462, text cont.. • Hygronoma dimidiata (Ochre-banded Staphylinus: B. Ent. 514). • Hygronoma dimidiatas: B. Ent. 514, legend+text. • Hygronoma dimidiatas: B. Ent. 514, text cont.. • Lathrobium terminatum: B. Ent. 650. • Lathrobium terminatum: B. Ent. 650, legend+text. • Lathrobium terminatum: B. Ent. 650, text cont.. • Micropeplus tesserula Curtis (Irish Micropeplus: B. Ent. 204). • Micropeplus tesserula (details, B. Ent. 204). • Micropeplus tesserula (B. Ent. 204, legend+text). • Paederus fuscipes Curtis (New Forest Paederus: B. Ent. 108). • Paederus fuscipes Curtis: B. Ent. 108, legend+text). • Paederus fuscipes Curtis: B. Ent. 108, text cont.). • Philonthus marginatus: B. Ent. 610. • Philonthus marginatus: B. Ent. 610, legend+text. • Philonthus marginatus: B. Ent. 610, text cont.. • Phytosus spinifer Curtis: B. Ent. 718. • Phytosus spinifer Curtis: B. Ent. 718, legend+text. • Phytosus spinifer Curtis: B. Ent. 718, text cont.. • Quedius lateralis: B. Ent. 638. • Quedius lateralis: B. Ent. 638, legend+text. • Rugilus fragilis (Red-necked Rugilus: B. Ent. 168). • Rugilus fragilis: B. Ent. 168, legend+text. • Rugilus fragilis: B. Ent. 168, text cont.. • Sepedophilus littoreus: B. Ent. 762. • Sepedophilus littoreus: B. Ent. 762, legend+text. • Sepedophilus littoreus: B. Ent. 762, text cont.. • Siagonium quadricorne (4-horned Staphylinus: B. Ent. 023). • Siagonium quadricorne: B. Ent. 023, legend+text. • Siagonium quadricorne: B. Ent. 023, text cont.. • Staphylinus pedator (Red-legged Staphylinus: B. Ent. 438). • Staphylinus pedator: B. Ent. 438, legend+text. • Staphylinus pedator: B. Ent. 438, text cont.. • Staphylinus pubescens: B. Ent. 758. • Staphylinus pubescens: B. Ent. 758, legend+text. • Staphylinus pubescens: B. Ent. 758, text cont.. • Stenus guttula (B. Ent. 164). • Stenus guttula (B. Ent. 164, details). • Stenus guttula (B. Ent. 164, legend+text. • Stenus Stenus guttula (B. Ent. 164, text cont.. • Syntomium aeneum (Bronzed Syntomium): B. Ent. 228. • Syntomium aeneum: B. Ent. 228, legend+text. • Syntomium aeneum: B. Ent. 228, text cont.. • Aleochara (12 spp.) and Homoeusa acuminata: Fowler 2, 37 (1888). • Fowler 2, 37 (1888): original legend.. • Aleochara (5 spp.), Crataraea, Haploglossa, Oxypoda 7 spp.): Fowler 2, 38 (1888). • Fowler 2, 38 (1888): original legend.. • Amarochara, Chilopora, Mniusa, Ocalea, Ocyusa, Phloeopora: Fowler 2, 40 (1888). • Fowler 2, 40 (1888): original legend.. • Dinarda maerkeli, Drusilla canaliculata, Lomechiusa (2 spp.), Zyras (9 spp.): Fowler 2, 41 (1888). • Fowler 2, 41 (1888): original legend.. • Alianta, Atheta, Liogluta, Lyprocorrhe, Notothecta, Thamiaraea: Fowler 2, 42 (1888). • Fowler 2, 42 (1888): original legend.. • Atheta (12 spp.) and Brundinia meridionalis: Fowler 2, 43 (1888). • Fowler 2, 43 (1888): original legend.. • Atheta (5 spp.), Dinarea(3 spp.), Halobrecta, Liogluta, Ousipalia: Fowler 2, 44 (1888). • Fowler 2, 44 (1888): original legend.. • Atheta, Aleuonota, Amidobia, Amischa, Amognathus, Boreophilia, Dadobia, Geostiba, Meotica, Schistoglossa: Fowler 2, 45 (1888). • Fowler 2, 45 (1888): original legend.. • Alaobia scapularis and Atheta (12 spp.): Fowler 2, 46 (1888). • Fowler 2, 46 (1888): original legend.. • Aleochara (3 spp.) and Oxypoda (2 spp.), with Hydrophilidae and Hydraenidae: Fowler Suppl. 3, 1913. • Fowler Suppl. 3, 1913: original legend.. • Micropeplus (3 spp.), with Nitidulidae: Fowler 3, 87 (1889). • Fowler 3, 87 (1889): original legend.. • Quedius lateralis, Philonthus marginatus, Lathrobium terminatum (Janson 109, 110, 113). • Phytosus spinifer, Rugilus fragilis (Janson 117, 118, 128). • Creophilus, Gauropterus, Lomechusa, Paederus, Quedius (Rye & Fowler). • Dianous, Oxyporus, Metopsia, Micropeplus (Rye & Fowler).

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Coleoptera. Version: 16th May 2016.’.