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Devil's coach horse beetle, Ocypus olens
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Suborder: Polyphaga
Infraorder: Staphyliniformia
Lameere, 1900

See text.

Staphyliniformia is a large infraorder of beetles. It contains over 60,000 described species from all regions of the world. Most species occur in moist habitats - various kinds of rotting plant debris, fungi, dung, carrion, many live in fresh water.


Most Staphyliniforms are small to average sized beetles. The diverse group has few clear apomorphies. They have primitively 11-segmented antennae, a constricted neck well behind the eyes. The pronotum has a well defined, large lateral edge. Larval legs are 5-segmented, the 10th abdominal segment is often with more-or-less fine or strong spines or hooks. Urogomphi (paired "horns" at posterior tip of abdomen of larvae and pupae) with basal articulation.[1]

Systematics and Evolution[edit]

Staphyliniformia belongs to the Polyphaga suborder and is usually given an infraorder or series rank. It contains three superfamilies:

Some recent studies also include the superfamily Scarabaeoidea (infraorder Scarabaeiformia), forming together the so-called Hydrophiloid lineage.[2][3] A sister group relationship of Hydrophiloidea and Histeroidea is strongly supported.[4]

The unambiguous fossil record dates back to Triassic, and an early Mesozoic origin of the group is probable.[5]

See also[edit]

List of subgroups of the order Coleoptera


  1. ^ M.Hansen. Phylogeny and classification of the staphyliniform beetle families (Coleoptera). Biologiske Skrifter 48, Copenhagen, 1997
  2. ^ M.S.Caterino et al., On the constitution and phylogeny of Staphyliniformia (Insecta: Coleoptera). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution Vol.34, 3, 2005
  3. ^ J.Kukalova-Peck, J.F.Lawrence, (1993) Evolution of the hind wings in Coleoptera. Canadian Entomologist, 135, 181–258.
  4. ^ R.G.Beutel, R.A.B.Leschen, Phylogenetic analysis of Staphyliniformia (Coleoptera) based on characters of larvae and adults. Systematic Entomology (2005), 30, 510–548
  5. ^ Grimaldi, D. and Engel, M.S. (2005). Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press