Back to Coleoptera Checklist

Back to Species Webpage List

Coleoptera of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Species Pages

Family Histeridae

            Tribe Saprinini

Gnathoncus rotundatus (Kugelann)

Description and Taxonomy

Length 3.5-5.5 mm. The genus belongs to the subfamily Saprininae (not further subdivided into tribes), which is characterized by relatively large robust bodies, often with metallic luster, lack of a prosternal lobe and antennal cavities situated alongside the prosternal keel (Kovarik & Caterino 2000). Three genera of saprinines, Euspilotus, Ganthoncus and Geomysaprinus, are known in the GSMNP. They differ in the patterns of prosternal striae and foveae. Ganthoncus has a characteristic flat, wide top of the prosternal keel and lacks prosternal foveae. Six species in the genus occur in N. America that are very similar in general appearance, so identifications should be confirmed by inspections of male genitalia (Kovarik & Caterino 2000; Bousquet & Laplante 2006).  So far, only one species is reported for GSMNP.

Life History

The species is primarily found in bird nests, especially in tree holes, but regularly occurs outside nests on various kinds of decomposing organic matter in forests and farm areas. (Bousquet & Laplante 2006). The GSMNP specimens were collected once, in bat droppings at a roosting site in a building at 585 m of elevation.


The species is nearly cosmopolitan, apparently introduced to many areas by humans (Kryzhanovskij & Reichardt 1976; Bousquet & Laplante 2006). Distribution includes most of N. America, north to southwestern British Columbia and Newfoundland.

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.

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

Back to Coleoptera Checklist

Back to Species Webpage List