Rove Beetle

Topic editor

Nick Thorp
Lead author: Nick Thorp

Species


Rove beetles belong to the order Coleoptera and the family Staphylinidae, of which there are over 45,000 different species worldwide and over 3,000 in North America.

Identification


Appearance
Rove beetles range in length between 0.25 inches and 1.5 inches with the majority under 0.75 inches in size. They are generally shiny black or brown in color and very slender with a muscular abdomen. Their have short forewings which expose the end of their abdomen, a characteristic that distinguishes them from other beetles.


Rove Beetle
Photo by Susan Ellis

Life Cycle


Rove beetles, like all other beetles species, go through four stages of development- egg, larvae, pupa, and adult. Adults lay eggs in areas that are close in proximity to food sources so that when the larvae appear they don't have to travel far. Larvae typically hatch within 5-10 days and feed on the pupa of root maggots or other insects. Depending on the species of rove beetle, some will spin a cocoon in which they pupate and mature into adults while others will inhabit the shell of another insects' pupa to do so. Rove beetles typically live as adults for 20-60 days.

Prey


Aphids
Springtails
Mites
Slugs
Snails
Maggots
Nematodes

Function


Different species of rove beetles go about attacking and feeding on their prey in different ways. While almost all species are predatory, actively searching out their prey, the larvae of some species, such as the Aleochara Bilineata, are parasitic. The larvae attack root maggots that are infesting plants, such as the cabbage and onion maggot.

Commercial Availability


Rove beetles are not currently available for purchase in North America.

Cultivation Techniques


Rove beetles like moist areas with substantial amounts of decaying organic material. While they are predatory insects, rove beetles also feed on decaying plants and animals. One easy way to create such a habitat is to have a well watered insect accessible compost pile in your garden. By doing so, one can attract a variety of beneficial insects to the garden and produce nutrient rich compost that can be used keep your beds healthy and vibrant.

References


Frank, J Howard and Michael C. Thomas. "Rove beetles- Staphylinidae." 1999
University of Florida. 30 Oct. 2008. <http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/ misc/beetles/rove_beetles.htm>.

Minga, Heidi. "Beneficial Insects." Washington State University Cooperative Extension.
30 Sept 2008. <http://ext.nrs.wsu.edu/publications/documents/beneficialinsects.pdf>.

Weeden, C.R., A. M. Shelton, and M. P. Hoffman. "Aleochara bilineata." Biological Control: A
Guide to Natural Enemies in North America. 1 Oct. 2008
<http://www.nysaes.cornell.edu/ent/biocontrol/predators/aleochara.html>.

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