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Coleoptera of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Species Pages

Family Nitidulidae

            Subfamily Nitidulinae

 Psilopyga histrina LeConte

The black stinkhorn beetle

Description and Taxonomy

Description. Adult length 4.5-6.0mm.  This robust, brownish black to black nitidulid is unlikely to be mistaken for any other member of the family, but might at first glance be taken for a histerid beetle, and this was presumably the inspiration for the specific epithet. The prominent, posteriorly projecting prosternal process, deeply bilobed labrum, and shiny non-pubescent dorsal surface of the body will distinguish the genus from others if any doubt exists (Habeck 2002). The solid  black coloration (lighter on some specimens, perhaps tenerals) and slightly smaller size distinguish it from its otherwise similar congener P. nigripennis,

Four species of Psilopyga are known from North America (Parsons 1943). These species are often incorrectly placed under the name Oxycnemus Erichson in collections and faunal survey listings. 

Life History

Comments made under its congener, P. nigripennis, presumably apply to this species, though no direct observations of larval development are available. The two species often co-occur on the same host mushroom. Morphological comparisons of larvae of the two species are necessary to enable identifications so that their relationship with each other on shared hosts can be better understood.


The species is found throughout eastern U.S. from New England, west to Wisconsin, and south to Florida (Peck and Thomas 2006). Presumably it is more widespread in GSMNP than current records indicate. 

Conservation Concerns

The species is not known to be under threat.

Locality records in GSMNP.



Development of these pages was supported by grants from Discover Life in America and the National Science Foundation (DEB-0516311).


Habeck, D. H. 2002. Nitidulidae. pp. 311-315 in R. H. Arnett, Jr., M. C. Thomas, P. E. Skelley, and J. H. Frank (eds.). American Beetles, Vol. 2. CRC Press, New York, NY.

Parsons, C. T.  1943.  A revision of Nearctic Nitidulidae  (Coleoptera). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 92: 119-278 + 13 pls.

Peck, S. B., and M. C. Thomas. 2006. Online version: accessed 21 September 2006.

Posted 8 Sep. 2006, C. E. Carlton, Louisiana State Arthropod Museum.

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