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Coleoptera of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Species Pages

Family Histeridae

            Tribe Exosternini

 Phelister subrotundus Marseul

Description and Taxonomy

Length 1.8-2.4 mm. The genus belongs to the tribe Exosternini, which is characterized by the presence of expanded prosternal lobe, free labrum, antennal cavities situated under anterior angles of the pronotum, dentate protibiae with straight protarsal furrow, antennal club with annuli not V-shaped and mesosternum with a median projection corresponding to an emargination at the prosternal base (Kryzhanovskij & Reichardt 1976, Kovarik & Caterino 2000). Among the genera of Exosternini, Phelister may be diagnosed by the lack of metallic luster, convergent carinal striae and presence of annuli on the antennal club. Thirteen described species in the genus occur in N. America, two of which are found in GSMNP. This species may be diagnosed by the complete 5th dorsal striae and reddish-brown color of the posterior half of the elytra.

Life History

The species seems to be a habitat and substrate generalist associated with a wide array of decomposing organic matter (dung, carrion, decomposing mushrooms, compost, wood chips and other decomposing plant material (Bousquet & Lapalante 2006).  In GSMNP, the species was collected by flight intercept and Malaise trapping  at 545-1880 m elevation.


 Widespread in eastern N. America, from South Dakota and Quebec to Florida and Texas (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.

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.


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

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