Eur. J. Entomol. 109 (4): 587-601, 2012 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2012.073

Larval morphology of Scydmaenus tarsatus and S. hellwigii, with notes on feeding behaviour and a review of the bibliography on the preimaginal stages of ant-like stone beetles (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Scydmaeninae)

Paweł JAŁOSZYŃSKI1, Aleksandra KILIAN2
1 Museum of Natural History, Wrocław University, Sienkiewicza 21, 50-335 Wrocław, Poland; e-mail:
2 Department of Invertebrate Biology, Evolution and Conservation, Wrocław University, Przybyszewskiego 63/77, 51-148 Wrocław, Poland; e-mail:

Morphology of mature larvae of two Central European species of Scydmaenus Latreille is described and illustrated: S. (s. str.) tarsatus Müller & Kunze and S. (Cholerus) hellwigii (Herbst). Inaccuracies in previous descriptions of S. tarsatus are discussed and the following combination of characters is defined as diagnostic for Scydmaenus: epicranial sutures reaching posteromedian margins of antennal insertions; presence of a single pair of stemmata and epicranial supraantennal pits; anterior row of subtriangular teeth on epipharynx; mandibles falciform and without mesal teeth; antennomere 3 rudimentary; antennal sensory appendage subconical and asymmetrical; maxilla with galea and lacinia; labium strongly constricted between mentum and prementum; thoracic tergites undivided along midline; head capsule, thoracic tergites, laterotergites and abdominal segments except sternite 1 densely setose; thoracic sternites and abdominal sternite1 largely asetose; and lack of urogomphi. We also describe the feeding behaviour of immature S. tarsatus and demonstrate for the first time that Scydmaeninae larvae can feed on live springtails and not armoured mites. In the introduction we provide a summary of the literature on all hitherto known preimaginal stages of Scydmaeninae.

Keywords: Coleoptera, Staphylinidae, Scydmaeninae, Scydmaenini, Scydmaenus, Palaearctic, larval morphology, behaviour, feeding

Received: February 20, 2012; Accepted: April 20, 2012; Revised: April 20, 2012; Published: October 5, 2012Show citation

ACS AIP APA ASA Harvard Chicago IEEE ISO690 MLA NLM Turabian Vancouver
JAŁOSZYŃSKI, P., & KILIAN, A. (2012). Larval morphology of Scydmaenus tarsatus and S. hellwigii, with notes on feeding behaviour and a review of the bibliography on the preimaginal stages of ant-like stone beetles (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Scydmaeninae). Eur. J. Entomol.109(4), 587-601. doi: 10.14411/eje.2012.073.
Download citation


  1. BERGROTH E. 1899: Anisosphaera problematica TGm. = Cephennium, larva [Col.]. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 1899: 295
  2. BEUTEL R.G. & MOLENDA R. 1997: Comparative morphology of selected larvae of Staphylinoidea (Coleoptera, Ployphaga) with phylogenetic implications. Zool. Anz. 41: 392-394
  3. BOVING A.G. & CRAIGHEAD F.C. 1931: An illustrated synopsis of the principal larval forms of the order Coleoptera. Entomol. Americana 11: 1-351
  4. BROWN C. & CROWSON R.A. 1980: Observations on Scydmaenid (Col.) larvae with a tentative key to the main British genera. Entomol. Mon. Mag. 115: 49-59
  5. DE MARZO L. 1983: Osservazioni sulla ovideposizione e sul ciclo larvale in Mastigus pilifer Kraatz (Coleoptera, Scydmaenidae). Entomologica (Bari) 18: 125-136
  6. DE MARZO L. 1984: Morfologia delle larve e pupa in Mastigus pilifer Kraatz (Coleoptera, Scydmaenidae). Entomologica (Bari) 19: 61-74
  7. DUDICH E. 1927: Die Cephennium-Larven und ihre Beziehung zu der Insektenordnung Anisosphaeridia. Entomol. Blaett. 23: 85-87
  8. FRANZ H. 1965: Beitrag zur Bodenfauna der Kanarischen Inseln. Zur Kenntnis der Coleopterenfauna von Tenerife und La Gomera. EOS, Rev. Esp. Entomol. 41: 59-66
  9. GANGLBAUER L. 1899: Die Kaefer von Mitteleuropa. Bd. 3, Familienreihe Staphylinoidea, 2 Theil, und Familienreihe Clavicornia. Druck und Verlag Karl Gerold's Sohn, Vienna, 1046 pp
  10. GHILAROV M.S. (ed.) 1964: Key to Soil Dwelling Insect Larvae. Nauka, Moscow, 921 pp. [in Russian]
  11. 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 Go to original source...
  12. HADLEY A. 2010: Combine ZP software, new version. URL:
  13. IONESCO M.A. 1937: La larve de Cephennium carnicum Rh, Etude morphologique. In: Hommage au Prof. E.C. Teodoresco. Institut de Arte Grafica si Editura "Marvan", Bukarest, pp. 101-109
  14. JALOSZYNSKI P. 2012a: Adults of European ant-like stone beetles (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Scydmaeninae) Scydmaenus tarsatus Mueller & Kunze and S. hellwigii (Herbst) prey on softbodied arthropods. Entomol. Sci. 15: 35-41 Go to original source...
  15. JALOSZYNSKI P. 2012b: Observations on cannibalism and feeding on dead arthropods in Scydmaenus tarsatus (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Scydmaeninae). Genus 23: 25-31
  16. JALOSZYNSKI P., HUNEFELD F. & BEUTEL R.G. 2012: The evolution of "deformed" brains in ant-like stone beetles (Scydmaeninae, Staphylinidae). Arthrop. Struct. Dev. 41: 17-28
  17. JEANNEL R. 1909: Biospeologica. X. Coleopteres (seconde serie). Arch. Zool Exp. Gen. 1: 447-532
  18. JEANNEL R. & PAULIAN R. 1945: Mission scientifique de l'Omo, VI (57). Faune des terriers des Rats-Taupes. IV. Coleopteres. Mem. Mus. Natn. Hist. Nat. 19: 1-214
  19. KASULE F.K. 1966: The subfamilies of the larvae of Staphylinidae (Coleoptera) with keys to the larvae of the British genera of Steninae and Proteininae. Trans. Entomol. Soc. Lond. 118: 261-283 Go to original source...
  20. KILIAN A. 2007: Comparative morphology of larval Camiarinae (Coleoptera: Leiodidae) Part I. Genus Paragyrtodes Szymczakowski, 1966. Zootaxa 1640: 1-39
  21. KUHNELT W. 1961: Soil Biology. Faber & Faber, London, 397 pp
  22. KLAUSNITZER B. 1978: 5.8 Scydmaenidae. In Klausnitzer B. (ed.): Bestimmungsbuecher zur Bodenfauna Europas. Lieferung 10. Ordung Coleoptera (Larven). Akademie-Verlag, Berlin, pp. 93-94
  23. KLAUSNITZER B. 1997: 20. Familie: Scydmaenidae. In Klausnitzer B. (ed.): Die Larven der Kaefer Mitteleuropas. 4. Band. Polyphaga, Teil 3. Goecke & Evers, Krefeld, and Gustav Fischer Verlag, Jena, Stuttgart, Luebeck, Ulm, pp. 69-82
  24. LARSSON S.G. 1941: Danske Billelarver, Bestemmelsnogle til Familie. Entomol. Medd. 22: 239-259
  25. MEINERT F. 1888: Scydmaenus-Larven. Entomol. Medd. 1: 144-150
  26. MORIMOTO K & HAYASHI N. 1986: The Coleoptera of Japan in Color. Vol. 1. Hoikusha, Osaka, 320 pp.
  27. NEWTON A.F. 1991: Scydmaenidae (Staphylinoidea). In Stehr F.W. (ed.): Immature Insects. Vol. 2. Kendall/Hunt, Dubuque, IA, pp. 330-334
  28. NEWTON A.F. & FRANZ H. 1998: World catalog of the genera of Scydmaenidae (Coleoptera). Koleopt. Rundsch. 68: 137-165
  29. O'KEEFE S.T. 2005: Scydmaenidae Leach, 1815. In Beutel R.G. & Leschen R.A.B. (eds): Handbook of Zoology. Coleoptera, Beetles. Vol. 1: Morphology and Systematics (Archostemata, Adephaga, Myxophaga, Polyphaga partim). De Gruyter, Berlin, New York, pp. 280-288
  30. O'KEEFE S.T. & MONTEITH G.B. 2000: Clidicus abbotensis O'Keefe, a new species of Scydmaenidae (Coleoptera: Staphylinoidea) from Australia with description of the larva. Mem. Queensl. Mus. 46: 211-223
  31. PAULIAN R. 1941: Les premiers etats des Staphylinoidea (Coleoptera). Etude de morphologie comparee. Mem. Mus. Natn. Hist. Nat. 15: 1-361
  32. PEYERIMHOFF P. 1899: Description de la larve de Cephennium laticolle Aub. (Col.). Bull. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 170-174
  33. SCHMID R. 1988a: Die Larven der Ameisenkaefer (Scydmaenidae, Staphylinoidea) - Neu- und Nachbeschreibung mit einem vorlaeufigen Bestimmungsschluessel bis zur Gattung. Mitt. Badisch. Landesv. Naturk. Naturs. 14: 643-660
  34. SCHMID R. 1988b: Morphologische Anpassungen in einem Rauber-Beute-System: Ameisenkafer (Scydmaenidae, Staphylinoidea) und gepanzerte Milben (Acari). Zool. Jb. Syst. Okol. Tiere 115: 207-228
  35. SCHOLZ R. 1926: Die larve von Cephennium reitteri Bris. (Col.). Entomol. Blaett. 22: 103-104
  36. SCHUSTER R. 1966a: Uber den Beutefang des Ameisenkaefers Cephennium austriacum Reitter. Naturwissenschaften 53: 113 Go to original source...
  37. SCHUSTER R. 1966b: Scydmaeniden-Larven als Milbenraeuber. Naturwissenschaften 53: 439-440 Go to original source...
  38. SILVESTRI F. 1899: Prima nota intorno all Anisosphaera TGm. Ann. Mus. Civ. St. Nat. Genova 39: 613-619
  39. TOMOSVARY O. 1882: Contributions to our fauna of Thysanura. Matem. Termeszettud. KGzl. 18: 119-131 [in Hungarian]
  40. VIT S. & DE MARZO L. 1989: Description of the larva of Leptomastax hypogeus Pirazzoli (Coleoptera Scydmaenidae). Arch. Sci. 42: 569-578
  41. WHEELER Q.D. 1990: Morphology and ontogeny of postembryonic larval Agathidium and Anisotoma (Coleoptera: Leiodidae). Am. Mus. Novit. 2986: 1-46
  42. WHEELER Q.D. & PAKALUK J. 1983: Descriptions of larval Stenichnus (Cyrtoscydmus): S. turbatus and S. conjux, with notes on their natural history (Coleoptera: Scydmaenidae). Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 85: 86-97

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY), which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original publication is properly cited. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.