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Coleoptera of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Species Pages

Family Histeridae

            Tribe Onthophilini

 Onthophilus pluricostatus LeConte

Description and Taxonomy

Length 2.3-2.7 mm. The genus belongs to the subfamily Onthophlinae (not further subdivided into tribes), which is characterized by presence of longitidinal costae on the pronotum and elytra, short prosternal lobe with expanded lateral margins covering antennal cavities and a narrow, non-dentate protibia (Kovarik & Caterino 2000). The subfamily includes two N. American genera, one of which is found in GSMNP. Twelve species of Onthophilus are known in N America north of Mexico (Helava 1978), and only one of four widely distributed eastern species has been found so far in the Park. It may be distinguished by unevenly developed elytral costae, elevated, a minutely punctured area on the metasternum and a narrow, deep longitudinal channel along the midline of thte male metasternum.

Life History

The life history of this species is poorly known. Label information (Helava 1978) list collections under a dead dog and in cow dung, in decomposing fleshy fungi and by pitfall trap baited with malt and propionic acid. The GSMNP specimens were collected by forest litter sifting at 580-600 m of elevation.


 Widespread in eastern N. America, from Michigan to Massachusetts and Louisiana to Florida (Helava 1978, 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.

Helava, J. 1978. A revision of the Nearctic species of the genus Onthophilus Leach (Coleoptera: Histerida). Contributions of the American Entomological Institute 15: 1-43.

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.

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