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Coleoptera of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Species Pages

Family Histeridae

            Tribe Histerini

 Atholus americanus (Paykull)

Description and Taxonomy

Length 2.7-4.2 mm. The genus belongs to the tribe Histerini, which is characterized by the presence of an expanded prosternal lobe, free labrum, antennal cavities situated under anterior angles of pronotum, dentate protibiae with straight protarsal furrow, antennal club with annuli not V-shaped, mesosternum without median projection and prosternal base without emargination (Kryzhanovskij & Reichardt 1976, Kovarik & Caterino 2000).  Five or six genera of Histerini are known in N America (Kovarik & Caterino 2000, Bousquet & Lapalante 2006), and three are present in GSMNP. Atholus may be diagnosed by the slightly convex outline of the anterior margin of the mesosternum, which is at least slightly concave in species of the other two histerine genera. Fifteen described species in the genus occur in N America, three of which are found in GSMNP. This species may be diagnosed by the united 5th dorsal and sutural striae and the lack of subhumeral striae.

Life History

The life history is poorly known, in part because the species' current status was established recently (Bousquet & Lapalante1999, 2006). It is associated with different kinds of decomposing organic material and has been collected in herbivorous mammal dung, under logs on "trash." In GSMNP, the species was collected once, by fogging red oak foliage at 1185 m of elevation.


Widespread in N America, from the Atlantic coast to eastern foothills of the Rockies up to central Quebec. Exact limits of the distribution in the West and in the South are poorly known (Bousquet & Lapalante 2006).

Conservation Concerns

Not 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).


Bousquet, Y. and S. Laplante. 1999.  Les coloptres histrids du Qubec. Fabreries. Suppl. 8: 1-190.

Bousquet, Y. and S. Laplante. 2006.  Coleoptera Histeridae. The insects and arachnids of Canada. Part 24. NRC Research press, Ottawa. 485 pp.

Kovarik, P.W. and M. S. Caterino.  2000. Histeridae. Pp. 212-227 in: Arnett, R. H. and M. C. Thomas (eds.) American beetles. Vol. 1. CRC Press, Boca Raton  - London - New York - Washington.

Kryzhanovskij, O. L. and A. N. Reichardt. 1976. Histeroidea. fauna of the USSR. Vol. V (4). Nauka: Moscow - Leneingrad. 433 pp.


 Posted 13 August 2007, A. K. Tishechkin, Louisiana State Arthropod Museum.

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