Hololepta aequalis

Hister Beetle

Hololepta aequalis image, Hister Beetle with pincers






Family: Histeridae

Subfamily: Histerinae

Length: 7-10 mm

Members of this genus are extremely flattened, an adaptation to their habitat: the tight-fitting bark of recently killed trees. They are typically, though not always, found on Tulip Poplar. Two species of this genus live in or near West Virginia: Hololepta aequalis (pictured) and H. lucida. The latter species has a striation all along the edge of the elytra, while H. aequalis has a striation beginning at the base of the elytra and extending no more than a quarter the length of the elytra. Some of the interesting features of both species are the pincers at the front of the head, and the short elytra that leave much of the abdomen exposed.

These beetles prey on tiny insects and other denizens of the under-bark world.

It is quite common for these beetles to have mites on and near them, as does the beetle in the photo above. The mites do not feed on the beetle, but may use the beetle to provide transportation to food they do like to eat.

Insects of West Virginia