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 Major Groups | Insecta (insects) | Coleoptera (beetles) | Staphylinidae


Major Group: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Staphylinidae

Descriptive Features:

  • prothorax without notopleural sutures, ventral portion of the notum, (hypomeron) on each side joined directly to the sternum by notosternal suture and pleuron reduced and concealed
  • body narrowly elongate, length > 4 X width
  • elytra very short, exposing more than 4 complete abdominal tergites
  • abdomen with more than 3 ventrites
  • size:
  • head prognathous or slightly declined
  • antennal length > ˝ head width
  • apex of antennal segment 2 oblique, so that sensorium arises proximad of segment 3
  • spiracles annular
  • maxillary palp 3-segmented
  • labrum separated from head capsule by complete suture
  • tergum 9 with articulated urogomphi
  • legs 5-segmented, including claw
  • size: up to 20mm

    Staphylinidae larva


    Staphylinidae adult

    Taxonomic Checklist: Subfamilies Genera
        Paederus sjoestedti Bernhauer

    Distribution: Australia wide

    Sensitivity Rating: SIGNAL grade 3

    Functional Feeding Group: unknown 


    Little Snowy Creek at Eskdale, Vic

    Ecology: Commonly known as ‘rove’ or ‘shore’ beetles, Staphylinidae is essentially a terrestrial beetle family that is found almost exclusively very close to water or in very wet mud or sand.
    Instream habitat: Staphylinid adults are considered terrestrial. Larvae appear to have more interaction with aquatic habitats. Stenus live in marshes and at the edge of streams and ponds. Bledius construct burrows in moist sand adjacent to rivers and lakes. Paederus lives in gravel at the edges of streams and rivers. Some Staphylinidae species may also live on top of emergent stones in streams.
    Feeding ecology:The feeding behaviour of staphylinid beetles is not clear-cut. Generally, terrestrial adults are thought to be predators and some species associated with water feed on algae but the subfamily Oxytelinae (Stenus and Bledius) noted as detritivores, feeding on dead or decaying organic matter (although another reference notes Stenus as a predator). Many terrestrial species are attracted to dung, carrion, rotting fruit and decaying matter, but may actually feed on other organisms living within these materials. No information is available on the larvae.
    Habit: Stenus and Paederus are able to run on the surface of the water. Stenus posses a unique adult prey capture mechanism. Bledius are typically gregarious.
    Life history:


    Information Sources: Lawrence & Britton 1991, Williams 1980, Mathews 1980, Jach 1998, Michaels 2007, C Watts pers. comm.
    Key to Subfamilies: none
    Key to Genera: none
    Key to Species: none


    Staphylinidae adult - damaged