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Coleoptera of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Species Pages

Family Histeridae

            Tribe Bacaniini

 Bacanius tantillus (LeConte)

Description and Taxonomy

Length 1.0-1.1 mm. The genus belongs to the tribe Bacaniini characterized by minute compact oval bodies, strong reduction of dorsal striae, expanded tibiae, presence of narrow prosternal lobe and propygidium mostly covered by elytral apices (Kryzhanovskij & Reichardt 1976, Kovarik & Caterino 2000). Together with the tribe Acritini, they form an informal group called "Microhisteridae," distinguished by their tiny body sizes (extremely rarely approaching 2 mm maximum length) and compact short elliptic body shapes. A single genus of bacaniines is known in N America, with a single species reported from GSMNP.

Life History

Life history of this rather rare species is poorly known. Specimens are occasionally collected in leaf litter and flight intercept traps (Bousquet & Laplante 2006, Tishechkin, unpublished). Some information suggests that species of Bacanius, unlike the most histerids, which are predators, may be fungal spore feeders (Kovarik & Caterino 2005). The GSMNP specimens were collected by both mentioned collecting methods at 430-1065 m elevation.


 Widespread in eastern N America, reported from Ontario and Quebec to Louisiana and Florida (Bousquet & Laplante 2006). Bousquet & Laplante (2006) speculated that a closely related, similar undescribed species may present within the range of B. tantillus.

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. 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.

Kovarik, P.W. and M. S. Caterino.  2005. Histeridae. Pp. 190-222 in: Beutel, R. and R. A. B. Leschen (eds.) Handbuch der Zoologie. Vol. IV (38). Walter de Gruyter: Berlin - New York.

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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