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Coleoptera of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Species Pages

Family Histeridae

            Tribe Tribalini

 Epierus pulicarius Erichson

Description and Taxonomy

Length 1.9-2.5 mm. The genus belongs to the subfamily Tribalinae (not further subdivided into tribes), which is characterized by the presence of longitidinal costae on the pronotum and elytra, short prosternal lobe with expanded lateral sides covering antennal cavities and narrow, non-dentate protibia (Kovarik & Caterino 2000). Four genera of tribalines occur in eastern N America. Epierus may be distinguished among them by the presence of dorsal striae and the lack of lateral pronotal and meso-metasternal striae. This species differs from other widespread eastern Epierus by its smaller size and the presence of two striae on the inflexed part of the elytron.

Life History

This species is found under bark and in rotten wood of dead trees, both conifers and deciduous, at advanced stages of decomposition. Unlike most histerids, which are predators, Epierus adults are fungal spore feeders (Kovarik & Caterino 2005). It is known in the GSMNP from a single locality at 455 m elevation.


 Widespread in eastern N America, from Quebec and Ontario  to Texas and Florida (Bousquet & Laplante 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. 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.


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

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