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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Cladus: Panarthropoda
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Insecta
Cladus: Dicondylia
Subclassis: Pterygota
Cladus: Metapterygota
Infraclassis: Neoptera
Cladus: Eumetabola
Cladus: Endopterygota
Superordo: Coleopterida
Ordo: Coleoptera
Subordo: Polyphaga
Infraordo: Staphyliniformia
Superfamilia: Staphylinoidea

Familia: Staphylinidae
Subfamiliae (32 + 1†): AleocharinaeApateticinaeDasycerinaeEmpelinaeEuaesthetinaeGlypholomatinaeHabrocerinaeLeptotyphlinaeMegalopsidiinaeMicropeplinaeMicrosilphinaeNeophoninaeOlisthaerinaeOmaliinaeOsoriinaeOxyporinaeOxytelinaePaederinaePhloeocharinaePiestinae – †Protactinae – ProteininaeProtopselaphinaePselaphinaePseudopsinaeScaphidiinaeScydmaeninaeSolieriinaeStaphylininaeSteninaeTachyporinaeTrichophyinaeTrigonurinae

Genera unassigned to subfamilia: †Apticax – †Megolisthaerus


Staphylinidae Latreille, 1802: 124

Type genus: Staphylinus Linnaeus, 1758.

Primary references

Latreille, P.A. 1802. Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière des crustacés et des insectes. Ouvrage faisant suite à l’histoire naturelle générale et particulière, composée par Leclerc de Buffon, et rédigée par C.S. Sonnini, membre de plusieurs sociétés savantes. Familles naturelles des genres. Tome troisième. F. Dufart, Paris, xii + pp. 13–467 + [1 (errata)]. BHL Reference page. [original description: p. 124]

Additional references

Asiain, J., Márquez, J. & Irmler, U. 2015. New national and state records of Neotropical Staphylinidae (Insecta: Coleoptera). Zootaxa 3974(1): 76–92. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3974.1.5 Preview (PDF). Reference page.
Bachmann, A.O., Chani-Posse, M.R., Guala, M.E. & Newton, A.F. 2017. A catalog of the types of Staphylinidae (Insecta, Coleoptera) deposited in the Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales, Buenos Aires (MACN). Zootaxa 4223(1): 1–74. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4223.1.1. Reference page.
Brunke, A.J.; Marshall, S.A. 2011: Contributions to the faunistics and bionomics of Staphylinidae (Coleoptera) in northeastern North America: discoveries made through study of the University of Guelph Insect Collection, Ontario, Canada. ZooKeys, 75: 29–68. ISSN: 1313-2970 (online) ISSN: 1313-2989 (print) DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.75.767
Blackwelder, R.E. 1952. The generic names of the beetle family Staphylinidae, with an essay on genotypy. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 200: i–iv, 1–483. hdl: 10088/30426 . BHL. Reference page.
Frank, J.H.; Ahn, K.-J. 2011: Coastal Staphylinidae (Coleoptera): a worldwide checklist, biogeography and natural history. ZooKeys, 107: 1–98. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.107.1651 Reference page.
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.
Hammond, H.E.J., García-Tejero, S., Pohl, G.H., Langor, D.W. & Spence, J.R. 2021. Spatial and temporal variation of epigaeic beetle assemblages (Coleoptera, Carabidae, Staphylinidae) in aspen-dominated mixedwood forests across north-central Alberta. Pp 951–991 In Spence, J.R., Casale, A., Assmann, T., Liebherr, J.K & Penev, L. (eds.). Systematic Zoology and Biodiversity Science: A tribute to Terry Erwin (1940-2020). ZooKeys 1044: 1–1042. Reference page. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.1044.65776 Open access Reference page.
Herman, L.H. 2001. Catalog of the Staphylinidae (Insecta: Coleoptera). 1758 to the end of the second millennium. I. Introduction, history, biographical sketches, and Omaliine group. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 265: 1–650. hdl: 2246/5826 Reference page.
Herman, L.H. 2001. Catalog of the Staphylinidae (Insecta: Coleoptera). 1758 to the end of the second millennium. II. Tachyporine group. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 265: 651–1066. hdl: 2246/5827 Reference page.
Herman, L.H. 2001. Catalog of the Staphylinidae (Insecta: Coleoptera). 1758 to the end of the second millennium. III. Oxyteline group. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 265: 1067–1806. hdl: 2246/5828 Reference page.
Herman, L.H. 2001. Catalog of the Staphylinidae (Insecta: Coleoptera). 1758 to the end of the second millennium. IV. Staphylinine group (Part 1). Euaesthetinae, Leptotyphlinae, Megalopsidiinae, Oxyporinae, Pseudopsinae, Solieriinae, Steninae. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 265: 1807–2440. hdl: 2246/5829 Reference page.
Herman, L.H. 2001. Catalog of the Staphylinidae (Insecta: Coleoptera). 1758 to the end of the second millennium. V. Staphylinine group (Part 2). Staphylininae: Diochini, Maorothiini, Othiini, Platyprosopini, Staphylinini (Amblyopinina, Anisolinina, Hyptiomina, Philonthina). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 265: 2441–3020. hdl: 2246/5830 Reference page.
Herman, L.H. 2001. Catalog of the Staphylinidae (Insecta: Coleoptera). 1758 to the end of the second millennium. VI. Staphylinine group (Part 3). Staphylininae: Staphylinini (Quediina, Staphylinina, Tanygnathinina, Xanthopygina), Xantholinini. Staphylinidae incertae sedis. Fossils, Protactinae†. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 265: 3021–3840. hdl: 2246/5831 Reference page.
Herman, L.H. 2001. Catalog of the Staphylinidae (Insecta: Coleoptera). 1758 to the end of the second millennium. VII. Bibliography and Index. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 265: 3841–4218. hdl: 2246/5832 Reference page.
Junk, W.; Schenkling, S. 1910: Coleopterorum Catalogus, Part 19 : Staphylinidae I.
Klimaszewski, J., Newton, A.F., jr. & Thayer, M.K. 1996. A review of the New Zealand rove beetles (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae). New Zealand journal of zoology 23(2): 143–160. DOI: 10.1080/03014223.1996.9518074 Open access. Reference page.
Latreille, P.A. 1802: Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière des Crustacés et des Insectes. Tome 3. F. Dufart, Paris. Internet Archive BHL
Ribeiro-Costa, C.S., Almeida, L.M., Caron, E., Corrêa, G.H., Linzmeier, A.M. & dos Santos, P.B. 2010. Catalog of the types of some families of Coleoptera (Insecta) deposited at Coleção de Entomologia Pe. J. S. Moure, Curitiba, Brazil. Zootaxa 2535: 1–34. Preview. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.2535.1.1 Paywall. Reference page.
Rodríguez, W.D., Navarrete-Heredia, J.L. & Klimaszewski, J. 2018. Rove beetles collected with carrion traps (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) in Quercus forest of Cerro de García, Jalisco and Quercus, Quercus-pine, and pine forests in other jurisdictions of Mexico. Zootaxa 4433(3): 457–477. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4433.3.4 Open access PDF Reference page.
Catalogue of Palearctic Coleoptera. Vol. 2 ed. I. Lobl, & A. Smetana, Apollo Books, Stenstrup, Denmark, 2004
ISBN 87-88757-74-9, p.237


Australian Faunal Directory
Tree of Life Web Project. 1995. Staphylinidae Latreille 1802. Rove beetles. Version 01 January 1995 (temporary) in The Tree of Life Web Project
Atlas of rove beatles (Staphylinidae) of Russia and adjacent countries [beetles]

Vernacular names
беларуская: Стафілініды
čeština: drabčíkovití
dansk: Rovbille
Deutsch: Kurzflügler
English: Rove beetles
français: Staphylinidés
magyar: holyvafélék, holyvák
日本語: ハネカクシ科
lietuvių: Trumpasparniai
Nederlands: Kortschildkevers
norsk: Kortvinger
polski: kusakowate
русский: Стафилиниды
српски / srpski: Краткокрилци
svenska: Kortvingar
Türkçe: Cepkenli böcekgiller
中文: 隱翅蟲科

The rove beetles are a family (Staphylinidae) of beetles,[1] primarily distinguished by their short elytra (wing covers) that typically leave more than half of their abdominal segments exposed. With roughly 63,000 species in thousands of genera, the group is currently recognized as the largest extant family of organisms. It is an ancient group, with fossilized rove beetles known from the Triassic, 200 million years ago, and possibly even earlier if the genus Leehermania proves to be a member of this family.[2] They are an ecologically and morphologically diverse group of beetles, and commonly encountered in terrestrial ecosystems.

One well-known species is the devil's coach-horse beetle. For some other species, see list of British rove beetles.


As might be expected for such a large family, considerable variation exists among the species. Sizes range from <1 to 35 mm (1.4 in), with most in the 2–8 mm range, and the form is generally elongated, with some rove beetles being ovoid in shape. Colors range from yellow and red to reddish-brown to brown to black to iridescent blue and green. The antennae usually have 11 segments and are filiform, with moderate clubbing in some genera. The abdomen may be very long and flexible, and some rove beetles superficially resemble earwigs.These beetles are able to fold themselves into a sort of origami shape.

Some members of Paederina (specifically the genus Paederus), a subtribe of Paederinae, contain a potent vesicant in their haemolymph that can produce a skin irritation called dermatitis linearis,[3] also known as Paederus dermatitis. The irritant pederin is highly toxic, more potent than cobra venom.[4]

Rove beetles are known from every type of habitat in which beetles occur, and their diets include just about everything except the living tissues of higher plants, but now including higher plants with the discovery of the diet of Himalusa thailandensis. Most rove beetles are predators of insects and other invertebrates, living in forest leaf litter and similar decaying plant matter. They are also commonly found under stones, and around freshwater margins. Almost 400 species are known to live on ocean shores that are submerged at high tide,[5] including the pictured rove beetle,[6] although these are much fewer than 1% of the worldwide total of Staphylinidae. Other species have adapted to live as inquilines in ant and termite colonies, and some live in mutualistic relationships with mammals whereby they eat fleas and other parasites, benefiting the host. A few species, notably those of the genus Aleochara, are scavengers and carrion feeders, or are parasitoids of other insects, particularly of certain fly pupae. To profit from the alleged advantages, several staphylinidae have been transferred into Italy, Hawaii, the continental United States, and Easter Island by practitioners. Another advantage of the rove beetle would be how these beetles are sensitive to changes in the environment, such as habitat alteration. By having such a characteristic, the beetles are a possible use to have in human-dominated environments, as a possible ecological disturbance indicator as tested with studies.

Although rove beetles' appetites for other insects would seem to make them obvious candidates for biological control of pests, and empirically they are believed to be important controls in the wild, experiments using them have not been notably successful. Greater success is seen with those species that are parasitoids (genus Aleochara).

Rove beetles of the genus Stenus are very interesting insects. They are specialist predators of small invertebrates such as collembola. Their labium can shoot out from the head using blood pressure. The thin rod of the labium ends in a pad of bristly hairs and hooks and between these hairs are small pores that exude an adhesive glue-like substance, which sticks to prey.[7]
Classification of the 63,650 (as of 2018) staphylinid species is ongoing and controversial, with some workers proposing an organization of as many as 10 separate families, but the current favored system is one of 32 subfamilies, about 167 tribes (some grouped into supertribes), and about 3,200 genera. About 400 new species are being described each year, and some estimates suggest three-quarters of tropical species are as yet undescribed


Gomes Gonçalves, Marcos Paulo (December 2017). "Relationship Between Meteorological Conditions and Beetles in Mata de Cocal". Revista Brasileira de Meteorologia. 32 (4): 543–554. doi:10.1590/0102-7786324003. ISSN 0102-7786.
Chatzimanolis, Stylianos; Grimaldi, David A.; Engel, Michael S.; Fraser, Nicholas C. (2012). "Leehermania prorova, the Earliest Staphyliniform Beetle, from the Late Triassic of Virginia (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae)" (PDF). American Museum Novitates (3761): 1–28. doi:10.1206/3761.2. hdl:2246/6393. S2CID 86429652.
Capinera, John L; J. Howard Frank (2008). "Dermatitis linearis". Encyclopedia of entomology. Springer. pp. 1179–. ISBN 978-1-4020-6242-1. "The 28 species thus far shown to produce such a toxin belong to three of the 14 genera of Paederina, namely Paederus, Paederidus, and Megalopaederus"
"Ectoparasites". Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp. Archived from the original on 2007-03-05. Retrieved 2007-06-04.
J.H. Frank & K.-J. Ahn (2011). "Coastal Staphylinidae (Coleoptera): A worldwide checklist, biogeography and natural history". ZooKeys (107): 1–98. doi:10.3897/zookeys.107.1651. PMC 3392188. PMID 22792029.
P. C. Craig (1970). "The behavior and distribution of the intertidal sand beetle, Thinopinus pictus (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae)". Ecology. 51 (6): 1012–1017. doi:10.2307/1933627. JSTOR 1933627.

Piper, Ross (2007), Extraordinary Animals: An Encyclopedia of Curious and Unusual Animals, Greenwood Press.

Ross H. Arnett, Jr. and Michael C. Thomas, American Beetles (CRC Press, 2001), vol. 1
Betz O., Irmler, U. and Klimaszewski, J. (eds.) Biology of rove beetles (Staphylinidae) - Life history, evolution, ecology and distribution (Springer, 2018)

(Méndez-Rojas, Cultid-Medina and Escobar, 2022)
Important works

For the Palaearctic fauna, the most up-to-date works are:

Lohse, G.A. (1964) Familie: Staphylinidae. In: Freude, H., Harde, K.W. & Lohse, G.A. (Eds.), Die Käfer Mitteleuropas. Band 4, Staphylinidae I (Micropeplinae bis Tachyporinae). Krefeld: Goecke & Evers Verlag, 264 pp.
Lohse, G.A. (1974) Familie: Staphylinidae. In: Freude, H., Harde, K.W. & Lohse, G.A. (Eds.), Die Käfer Mitteleuropas. Band 5, Staphylinidae II (Hypocyphtinae und Aleocharinae). Pselaphidae. Krefeld: Goecke & Evers Verlag, 381 pp.
Lohse, G.A. (1989) Ergänzungen und Berichtigungen zu Freude-Harde-Lohse "Die Käfer Mitteleuropas" Band 5 (1974), pp. 185–243 In: Lohse, G.A. & Lucht, W.H. (Eds.), Die Käfer Mitteleuropas. 1. Supplementband mit Katalogteil. Krefeld: Goecke & Evers Verlag, pp. 185–243.

Regional works


Lott, D.A. (2009). The Staphylinidae (rove beetles) of Britain and Ireland. Part 5: Scaphidiinae, Piestinae, Oxytelinae. Handbooks for the identification of British insects, vol. 12, part 5. St Albans: Royal Entomological Society. British and Irish fauna only
Tronquet, M. (2006). Catalogue iconographique des Coléoptères des Pyrénées-Orientales. Vol. 1: Staphylinidae. Supplément au Tome XV de la Revue de l’Association Roussillonnaise d’Entomologie. Perpignan: Association Roussillonnaise d’Entomologie.Extensively illustrated

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