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Coleoptera of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Species Pages

Family Histeridae

            Tribe Histerini

 Margarinotus (Paralister) lecontei Wenzel

Description and Taxonomy

Length 3.4-4.2 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 the 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. Margarinotus is an externally diverse genus diagnosed primarily by several characters of the male genitalia.  However, most species (all in the East and GSMNP) may be recognized by the emarginate outline of the anterior margin of the mesosternum and complete inner subhumeral striae on elytra. Twenty-nine described species in the genus are known in N. America, seven of which are found in the GSMNP. This species may be diagnosed by the posteriorly abbreviated marginal stria of pronotum, the presence of  punctures inward of inner lateral pronotal striae, anteriorly abbreviated 5th dorsal and sutural striae and the presence of marginal stria of the prosternal lobe. The latter character is the only external character for distinguishing the species from the extremely similar M. faedatus.

Life History

The species is known to be particularly attracted to rotting mushrooms, but also found occasionally on dung and carrion (Bousquet & Lapalante 2006). This is the most commonly collected histerid in the Park, where it is found in rotting mushrooms and fleshy fungi, in forest litter (once) and by flight intercept traps at 520- 1515 m of elevation.


 Widespread in N America  from central Alberta and Nova Scotia to Texas and Georgia (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. 2006.  Coleoptera Histeridae. The insects and arachnids of Canada. Part 24. NRC Research press, Ottawa. 485 pp.

Caterino, M. S. 1999. The taxonomy and phylogenetics of the coenosus group of Hister Linnaeus (Coleoptera: Histeridae).  Univ. of California Publications in Entomology 119: 1-75.

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.

Summerlin, J. W., D. E. Bay, R. L. Harris, and D. J. Russel. 1981. Laboratory observations on the life cycle and habits of two species of Histeridae: Hister coenosus and Hister incertus. Annals of the  Entomological Society of America 74: 316-319.

Summerlin, J. W., G. T. Fincher, J. S. I. Hunter and K. R. Beerwinkle. 1993. Seasonal dsitribution and diel activity of dung-attracted histerids in open and woded pastyre in east-central Texas. Southwestern Entomologist 18: 251-261.


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

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