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For educational purposes only; do not review, quote or abstract:--

A Public Service on the basics of Insect Identification

 

 

COLEOPTERA

(Email Contacts)

 

There are over 40 of the 150+ families of Coleoptera which have species exhibiting entomophagous

habits.  (CLICK on key desired).

 

Keys to Adults of Important Families of Entomophagous Coleoptera

(Derived fr. Schlinger & Doutt, 1964)

 

Additional Keys to Families of Coleoptera

(Derived fr. Headstrom, 1977)

 

[Please refer to <Guide> for additional illustrations

and <Coleoptera> for order details]

 

Keys to Adults of Important Families of

Entomophagous Coleoptera

 

 

2

1a.  Head not prolonged into a beak; gular sutures double, at least anteriorly and posteriorly

 

---

1b.  Head usually beak-like; gular sutures fused or lacking (Rhynchophora) .......... Anthribidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

3

2a.  First visible abdominal sternite divided by hind coxal cavities; outer lobe or galea of maxillae palpiform (Adephaga)

 

7

2b.  First visible abdominal sternite not normally interrupted by the hind coxal cavities; outer lobe or galea of maxillae not palpiform (Polyphaga)

 

4

3a.  Abdomen with 6 or more visible sternites; antennae filiform

 

---

3b.  Abdomen with 4 visible sternites; antennae greatly thickened apically, clavate or broadly laminate (Paussoidea) ............ Paussidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

5

4a.  Eyes entire, not divided; antennae elongate, slender (Caraboidea)

 

---

4b.  Eyes divided, appearing as 2 pairs; antennae short (Gyrinoidea) ............ Gyrinidae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

6

5a.  Metasternum with a distinct transverse suture demarking a triangular antecoxal sclerite

 

---

5b.  Metasternum without a transverse suture or antecoxal sclerite ............. Dytiscidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

6a.  Antennae inserted on the front above the base of the mandibles; clypeus extending on each side beyond base of antennae ............. Cicindelidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

6b.  Antennae inserted on the sides of head between the base of mandibles and eyes; clypeus not extending beyond base of antennae .............. Carabidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

8

7a.  Antennae usually not clubbed, but if so, then club segments are not lamellate

 

---

7b.  Antennae with the last 3-7 segments enlarged, club-like .............. Scarabaeidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

9

8a.  Hind tarsi with 4 segments, front and middle tarsi with 5 segments

 

15

8b.  Hind tarsi with at least as many joints as front and middle tarsi

 

10

9a.  Front coxal cavities closed behind

 

11

9b.  Front coxal cavities open behind

 

---

10a.  Abdominal sternites freely movable (males only) (also see couplet 32) ......... Rhizophagidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

10b.  First 2-4 abdominal sternites somewhat fused or immovable ............. Tenebrionidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

12

11a.  Head strongly and suddenly constricted behind eyes

 

---

11b.  Head not strongly or suddenly constricted behind eyes ............. Pythidae   (= Salpingidae) <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

13

12a.  Prothorax usually rounded on sides, without sharp lateral margin

 

---

12b.  Prothorax with sharp lateral margin ............. Mordellidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

14

13a.  Base of prothorax narrower than elytra...................

 

---

13b.  Base of prothorax as wide as elytra .......... Rhipiphoridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

14a.  Hind coxae large and prominent .............. Meloidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

14b.  Hind coxae transverse, not prominent ............ Anthicidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

16

15a.  Maxillary palpi much shorter than antennae

 

---

15b.  Maxillary palpi as long or longer than antennae ........... Hydrophylidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

16a.  Elytra short, exposing much of abdomen ............. Staphylinidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>   <Identification>

 

17

16b.  Elytra covering most of abdomen, not shortened

 

18

17a.  Tarsi 5-jointed on at least 1 pair of legs, usually on all legs

 

41

17b.  All tarsi with less than 5 segments

 

19

18a.  Abdomen with at least 6 sternites

 

27

18b.  Abdomen with 5 sternites or less

 

20

19a.  Front coxae conical, large and prominent

 

---

19b.  Front coxae globular, small and not prominent .............. Leptinidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

21

20a.  Abdomen with 6 sternites

 

24

20b.  Abdomen with 7-8 sternites

 

22

21a.  Hind coxae not grooved

 

---

12b.  Hind coxae grooved for reception of femora (also see couplet 39) ............. Rhipiceridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

23

22a.  Hind coxae prominent, at least internally

 

---

22b.  Hind coxae flat, not prominent (also see couplet 38) ............. Cleridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

23a.  Tibial spurs large ............ Silphidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

23b.  Tibial spurs small, indistinct ...............  Melyridae (= Malachiidae) <Habits>;  <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

25

24a.  Middle coxae in contact

 

---

24b.  Middle coxae distant ............. Lycidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

26

25a.  Antennae inserted on the upper part of the front or at the base of its anterior lobe

 

---

25b.  Antennae inserted at the sides of the front, before the eyes ............. Drilidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

26a.  Head somewhat completely covered by prothorax ............ Lampyridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

26b.  Head not at all covered by prothorax ............... Phengodidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>  and  Cantharidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

28

27a.  Front coxae globular or transverse

 

38

27b.  Front coxae somewhat conical and prominent

 

29

28a.  Front coxae transverse, somewhat cylindrical

 

33

28b.  Front coxae globular

 

30

29a.  Hind coxae grooved to receive the femora

 

31

29b.  Hind coxae flat, not grooved

 

---

30a.  Front coxae without a distinctly separated side piece (trochantin) ............. Helodidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

30b.  Front coxae with trochantin ............. Dascillidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

32

31a.  Tarsi somewhat dilated, first joint not shortened

 

---

31b.  Tarsi slender, the metatarsus very short..........Ostomatidae   <Habits>; <Adults  & <Juveniles>

 

---

32a.  Maxillae with only a single lobe .............. Nitidulidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

32b.  Maxillae with both inner and out lobe (also see couplet 10) ............ Rhizophagidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

34

33a.  Prosternum without median process

 

---

33b.  Prosternum prolonged behind into a median process which is received in the mesosternum ............. Elateridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

35

34a.  Hind coxae not in contact although close together in some species

 

---

34b.  Hind coxae in contact ............ Phalacridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

36

35a.  Elytra entire, covering the pygidium

 

---

35b.  Elytra short, leaving 2 segments of abdomen exposed ............ Histeridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

37

36a.  Antennae consisting of 10-11 segments

 

---

36b.  Antennae consisting of only 2 apparent segments ............ Ectrephidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

37a.  Maxillae covered by corneous plates .......... Passandridae  (Incl. Cucujidae)   <Habits>;  <Adults>   <Juveniles>

 

---

37b.  Maxillae exposed ............ Cucujidae   <Habits>;  <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

39

38a.  Hind coxae dilated into plates which are grooved to receive the femora

 

---

38b.  Hind coxae not grooved (also see couplet 22) ............. Cleridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

39a.  Antennae with last 3 segments much enlarged forming a strong club .............Dermestidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

39b.  Antennae not capitate (also see couplet 21) ............ Rhipiceridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

41

40a.  Tarsi with 3 segments

 

42

40b.  Tarsi with 4 segments

 

---

41a.  Second segment of tarsi dilated ............. Coccinellidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

41b.  Second segment of tarsi not dilated ........... Lathridiidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

42a.  Abdominal sternites all free and movable ............ Mycetophagidae   <Habits>;  <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

42b.  Abdominal sternites 1-4 firmly united ........... Colydiidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

Additional Keys to Families of Coleoptera

 

(derived fron Headstrom, 1977)

 

SPACES LEFT BELOW FOR FUTURE ENTRIES:

 

2

1a.  Head prolonged into a beak or snout

 

8

1b.  Head not prolonged into a beak or snout

 

---

2a.  Beak longer than broad, antenna with a distinct club.  Not stout gray and black checkered beetles.  Maxillary & labial palpi flexible .......... Anthribidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

8

2b   Beak not longer than broad, antenna without a distinct club

 

SKIP Couplets 3 thru' 7

 

9

8a.  Hind legs modified for swimming (= flattened with fringes of long hair)

 

12

8b.  Hind legs not modified for swimming

 

---

9a.  Eyes divided ....... Gyrinidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

10

9b.  Eyes not divided

 

11

10a.  Legs with large spurs & small claws

 

---

10b.  Legs with only short bristles ............ Haliplidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

11a.  Antenna with knob at apex, labial palpi very long, appearing like antennae ......... Hydrophilidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

11b.  Antenna threadlike, without a knob; labial palpi normal ........... Dytiscidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

13

12a.  Tarsi of all legs with 5 segments each

 

56

12b.  Tarsi of front legs with 5 segments each, tarsi of hind legs with 4 segments each

 

67

12c.  Tarsi of all legs with less than 5 apparent segments each

 

14

13a.  Antennae threadlike

 

16

13b.  Antennae mostly not threadlike

 

---

14a.  Antennae inserted above the bases of mandibles; head, including eyes, wider than pronotum  ............ Cicindelidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

16

14b.  Antennae inserted between eyes and bases of mandibles; head, including eyes, narrower than pronotum.  Body not covered with scales

 

SKIP Couplet 15

 

---

16a.  Scutellum visible or exposed ........... Carabidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

19

16b.  Antennae with distal segments expanded laterally to form leaflike or platelike structures

 

SKIP Couplets 17 & 18

 

---

19a.  Distal segments of antennae can be closely folded together; abdomen with 5 visible segments ......... Trogidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

19b.  Abdomen with 6 visible segments or, if only 5 are present, coxae of middle legs are transverse ........... Scarabaeidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

SKIP Couplet 20

 

22

21a.  Elytra abbreviated, covering less than 1/2 the length of abdomen

 

24

21b.  Elytra covering whole abdomen or exposing only one or two dorsal segments

 

---

22a.  Abdomen flexible, with 7-8 visible ventral segments .......... Staphylinidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>;  <Identification>

 

---

22b.  Abdomen not flexible, with only 5-6 visible ventral segments; antennae with 10-12 segments ............ Pselaphidae    <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

SKIP Couplet 23

 

26

24a.  Elytra not square cut, abdomen not conical; abdomen with 7-8 visible segments

 

27

24b. Elytra square cut, abdomen conical

 

SKIP Couplet 25

 

---

26a.  Coxae of middle legs separated .......... Lycidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

27

26b.  Coxae of middle legs touching

 

---

27a.  Head completely or mostly exposed or at most 1/2 covered by pronotum ......... Cantharidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

27b.  Head completely covered by pronotum or at least more than 1/2 covered ........ Lampyridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

27c.  Head completely exposed, antennae well separated at their bases ........... Phengodidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

28a.  First 3 ventral segments of abdomen not fused and can be moved.  Abdomen with 6 ventral segments.  Very small, flattened beetles with rudimentary eyes or none at all ......... Leptinidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

28b.  First 3 ventral segments of abdomen not fused and can be moved; abdomen with 6 ventral segments; very small oval beetles with eyes, no erect hairs; elytra leaving tip of abdomen exposed ............. Silphidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

35

28c.  Elytra completely covering abdomen

 

39

28d.  Abdomen with 5 ventral segments

 

SKIP Couplets 29 thru' 34

 

---

35a.  Not small and oval beetles.  First segment of abdomen not cut into 3 parts by coxae of hind legs; coxae of hind legs conical .......... Melyridae   (= Malachiidae) <Habits>;  <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

35b.  Coxae of hind legs flat; each 4th tarsal segment about the size of the 3rd  ........ Cleridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

39a.  Antennae bent at an angle or elbowed ............. Histeridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

40

29b.  Antennae not bent at an angle or elbowed

 

41

40a.  Femur attached to tip or near tip of trochanter

 

50

40b.  Femur attached to side of trochanter

 

45

41a.  Coxae of front legs conical

 

46

41b.  Coxae of front legs transverse

 

50

41c.  Coxae of front legs spherical

 

SKIP Couplets 42 thru' 44

 

---

45a.  Antennae each with a 3-segmented club ............. Dermestidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

45b.  Antennae usually fan- or saw-like ........... Rhipiceridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

46a.  Elytra leaving tip of abdomen exposed ............ Nitidulidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

47

46b.  Elytra completely covering abdomen

 

---

47a.  Soft-bodied beetles; antennae usually sawlike .............. Helodidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

47b.  Hard-bodied beetles; antennae each usually with a small club; each femora of hind legs, when at rest, does not fit into a groove in the coxa. ............. Ostomidae (= Ostomatidae)   <Habits>; <Adults  & <Juveniles>

 

SKIP Couplets 48 & 49

 

---

50a.  Area between coxae of front legs with a spine .............  Elateridae

 

54

50b.  Area between coxae of front legs without a spine

 

SKIP Couplets 51 thru' 53

 

56

54a.  Antennae each with a club

 

---

54b.  Antennae each without a club ........... Cucujidae   (incl. Passandridae) <Habits>;  <Adults> &  <Juveniles>

 

SKIP Couplet 55

 

---

56a.  Cavities in which coxae of front legs are attached, closed behind; tarsal claws not comb-like ......... Tenebrionidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

59

56b.  Cavities in which coxae of front legs are attached open behind

 

SKIP Couplets 57 & 58

 

---

59a.  Base of pronotum as wide as combined elytra; antennae with long, flat processes, which fold like a fan (male) or somewhat sawlike (female); head strongly and suddenly constricted behind eyes ............. Rhipiphoridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

59b.  Base of pronotum as wide as combined elytra; antennae threadlike, coxae of hind legs with plates; abdomen usually ending in a pointed process ............ Mordellidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

63

59c.  Base of pronotum narrower than combined elytra

 

SKIP Couplets 60 thru' 62

 

---

63a.  Coxae of hind legs large and prominent ............. Meloidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

63b.  Coxae of hind legs not large and prominent; eyes not notched; each 2nd tarsal segment not lobed beneath ............ Anthicidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

SKIP Couplets 64 thru' 66

 

68

67a.  Tarsi each with 4 segments

 

73

67b.  Tarsi each with apparently 4 segments (the 5th is small and concealed)

 

76

67c.  Tarsi each with apparently 3 segments (if 4th present, it is too small to recognize easily)

 

---

68a.  First 4 ventral segments of abdomen fused together, only 5th being visible; tibia not enlarged nor armed with spines.  Antennae inserted under margin of frontal region. ............ Colydiidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

68b.  First 4 ventral segments of abdomen not fused together; coxae of front legs oval ............. Mycetophagidae

 

SKIP Couplets 67 thru' 72

 

---

73a.  Body short, somewhat oval; antennae short, and each with a 3-segmented club ......... Phalacridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

76

73b.  Body short, somewhat oval, antennae short, and each without a club

 

SKIP Couplets 74 & 75

 

---

76a.  Wings without a fringe of long hairs; tarsi with 4 segments each, the 3rd being very small and inconspicuous ............. Coccinellidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

---

76b.  Tarsi without a fringe of long hairs and only 3 segments each; elytra completely covering abdomen ............. Lathridiidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>