Staphyliniformia is a large infraorder of beetles. It contains over 70,000 described species from all regions of the world. Most species occur in moist habitats - various kinds of rotting plant debris, fungi, dung, carrion, many live in fresh water.

Temporal range: Rhaetian–Recent
Devil's coach horse beetle, Ocypus olens
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Suborder: Polyphaga
Infraorder: Staphyliniformia
Lameere, 1900

See text.


Most Staphyliniforms are small to average sized beetles. The diverse group has few clear apomorphies. They have primitively 11-segmented antennae, a constricted neck well behind the eyes. The pronotum has a well defined, large lateral edge. Larval legs are 5-segmented, the 10th abdominal segment is often with more-or-less fine or strong spines or hooks. Urogomphi (paired "horns" at posterior tip of abdomen of larvae and pupae) with basal articulation.[1]

Systematics and evolutionEdit

Staphyliniformia belongs to the suborder Polyphaga and is usually given an infraorder or series rank. It contains three superfamilies:

Some recent studies also include the superfamily Scarabaeoidea (infraorder Scarabaeiformia), forming together the so-called Hydrophiloid lineage.[2][3] A sister group relationship of Hydrophiloidea and Histeroidea is strongly supported.[4]

The unambiguous fossil record dates back to Triassic, and an early Mesozoic origin of the group is probable.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ M.Hansen. Phylogeny and classification of the staphyliniform beetle families (Coleoptera). Biologiske Skrifter 48, Copenhagen, 1997
  2. ^ M.S.Caterino et al., On the constitution and phylogeny of Staphyliniformia (Insecta: Coleoptera). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution Vol.34, 3, 2005
  3. ^ J.Kukalova-Peck, J.F.Lawrence, (1993) Evolution of the hind wings in Coleoptera. Canadian Entomologist, 135, 181–258.
  4. ^ R.G.Beutel, R.A.B.Leschen, Phylogenetic analysis of Staphyliniformia (Coleoptera) based on characters of larvae and adults. Systematic Entomology (2005), 30, 510–548
  5. ^ Grimaldi, D. and Engel, M.S. (2005). Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press