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Rove Beetle (Various spp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Rove Beetle

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Image Credit: Jessica B., taken in Romeoville, IL
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Long, narrow bodies are hallmarks of this type of Rove Beetle, an often unnoticed soil-dwelling predator of smaller insects.

Updated: 01/05/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Rove Beetles are usually found in moist soil or compost where they forage for insects like mites and maggots as well as other kinds of soft-bodied larvae. The elongated body of this genus has what appear to be four segments: a head, a thorax, shortened elytra, and a long, slender abdomen. Their body shape is similar to that of an Earwig, but Rove Beetles lack the pincers. Many species are black with light, almost translucent legs. Some are two-toned: one species is bright yellow and black, another is brown and black. Others may be pale with brown coloring on them. Short elytra and wings mean the plated abdomen is exposed. Exposure means the abdomen is free to bend and curve, allowing it to fit through crevices. It also means the insect loses moisture through evaporation more easily, so arid regions are difficult to live in. Most Rove Beetles reside in moist, humid environments. This can include caves, coastal shores, inside nests of insects, and even inside mushrooms.

Found near carrion and other decaying organic matter, one type of Rove Beetle is helpful in forensics. Thanks to their diet of immature crop insects, many types of Rove Beetle play a valuable role in controlling pests. Though they are not bright or flashy, this understated group of beetles fills a niche in the ecosystem that often gets overlooked.


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General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Staphylinidae
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          Genus: Various
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            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Various spp.
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 13mm to 26mm (0.51" to 1.02")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; brown; yellow; orange
Descriptors: orange legs; yellow legs; brown legs; long; skinny; narrow; elongated; flying; jaws; earwig-like

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 13mm (0.5in) and 26mm (1.0in)
Lo: 13mm
Md: 19.5mm
Hi: 26mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Rove Beetle may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Rove Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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