Members of the family Histeridae are usually known as hister beetles or prop beetles. The family includes about 3,000 species, which are found primarily in hot regions. The hister beetle is oval shaped and usually black, although some species have a bronze coloration. The elytra, or front wings, are noticeably squared at the ends, exposing one or two abdominal segments. The antennae are elbowed and claviform or club-shaped. The fourth section of each back leg is usually toothed or spiked.
Hister beetles are small or medium-sized -1/50 to 3/10 inch
long. The single exception is Oxysternus maximus, a species found in Guyana that
grows to more than an inch in length.
Hister beetles live in and around decaying organic material and prey on other animals living in these surroundings. The elongated, cylindrical hister beetles belonging to the genus Plegaderus inhabit the tunnels dug by wood-boring insects. Members of the genus Dendrophilus are found in birds' nests, the burrows of small mammals, and the nests of ants and termites. These hister beetles sometimes cohabit with the nest's or burrow's original occupant, but more often they make short visits in search of prey, dead bodies, and excrement.
When attacked, a hister beetle pulls in its legs and antennae and plays dead. The legs and antennae fit so effectively in grooves when the hister beetle feels endangered that it is difficult to find them, even with the aid of a magnifying glass. When motionless, feigning death, the hister beetle resembles a shiny seed. This serves to protect members of the family Histeridae from other insects that would prey on them.
INDEX : Insects January 11, 2016 02:26:01 PM