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Coleoptera of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Species Pages

Family Histeridae

            Tribe Exosternini

 Phelister vernus Marseul

Description and Taxonomy

Length 2.0-2.5 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 abbreviated 5th dorsal striae and bluish-black color.

Life History

The life history is poorly known (Bousquet & Lapalante 2006). This pecies seems to be less common and more restricted to woodland habitats than P. subrotundus. It is not attracted to dung and carrion in agricultural landscapes, and probably is associated with some type of decomposing vegetative material (Tishechkin, unpublished). In GSMNP, the species was collected by flight intercept trapping and was found in rotten hay at 575-620 m of elevation.


Widespread in eastern N. America, from New York and Illinois to Florida and Texas (Bousquet & Lapalante 2006, Tishechkin, unpublished).

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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