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the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Histeridae (steel beetles, hister beetles)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Arthopoda > Mandibulata > Atelocerata > Panhexapoda > Hexapoda > Insecta (insects) > Dicondyla > Pterygota > Metapterygota > Neoptera > Eumetabola > Holometabola > Coleoptera (beetles) > Polyphaga > Superfamily:  Histeroidea

Histerid beetles are small to medium sized (1-20mm), usually black and shiny, with elytra not covering the abdomen entirely, usually exposing the last 2 segments. The head is retracted under the pronotum and the jaws are conspicuous. The are found mainly in decaying organic matter such as dung, dead animals and leaf litter. There are also species that live in termite colonies (termitophilous) and others that live in ant nests (myrmecophilous). Adults and larvae are mainly predators on larvae of beetles and flies but there are species that eat fungal spores.

Macrolister sp.


Macrolister sp. [image by M. Picker & C. Griffiths , from Field Guide to Insects of South Africa, used with permission].


Page by Margie Cochrane