Sepedophilus sp.

Decay-loving Rove Beetle

Rove Beetle photo, Genus Sepedophilus






Family: Staphylinidae

Subfamily: Tachyporinae

Length: 1.5 to 4 mm

Beetles in the genus Sepedophilus are easily recognized by the combination of compact shape (Rove Beetles are more typically elongate), small size, and pubescent body. Identifying these beetles to species is a chore, and often involves dissection and comparing the lengths of the male genitalia right down to the hundredths of a millimeter. For most of us, identifying to genus will be sufficient.

These beetles are found under bark, under piles of rotting debris, in fungi, in leaf litter, and occasionally at lights. Some species have been collected in beaver lodges and wood rat nests. Little is known about their life history, but specialists conjecture that members of this genus feed on fungi, including the tiny mycelium that snakes its way though litter on the forest floor, and across the under-bark environment.

These beetles don't have a generally accepted common name, but the one given here is a simple translation of the scientific name.

Insects of West Virginia