What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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Nitidulids have a wide variety of habits, and those in Australia may be found in: leaf litter ( Stelidota , Thalycrodes ); rotten fruits ( Lasiodactylus , Carpophilus ); flowers of palms and Pandanus ( Platychoropsis ); dicotyledonous flowers ( Notobrachypterus , Aethina ( Olliffura )); seeds of Proteaceae and Sterculiaceae ( Idaethina ); rotten cactus (introduced Camptodes ); mushrooms ( Cychramus , Pallodes ); puffballs ( Pocadius ); male cones of cycads ( Aethina ( Circopes ) or Araucaria ( Testudorea ); fermenting bark or tree wounds ( Brachypeplus , Cryptarcha , Amphicrossus ); or preying on scale insects ( Cychramptodes , Cybocephalus ).

Several introduced species, such as Urophorus humeralis , Carpophilus hemipterus , C. davidsoni , and C. dimidiatus are pests of stored dried fruits, but may also attack ripe fruit in orchards. Cychramptodes murrayi may be seen feeding on the honeydew produced by the large females of Cryptes baccatus (HEMI: Coccoidea); they are protected from the tending ants by their ability to conceal all moving parts beneath the explanate and deflexed pronotum and elytral epipleura, and their larvae feed internally on the female and her brood. Kirejtshuk (1986b) divided the family into 7 subfamilies (Kateretinae, Carpophilinae, Meligethinae, Nitidulinae, Cillaeinae, Cryptarchinae and Cybocephalinae) [Hayashi 1978; Kirejtshuk 1986a, 1986c, 1987; Kirejtshuk and Lawrence 1989; Lawrence 1988a, 1989b.]


Usually oblong to ovate, less commonly elongate and parallel-sided, strongly convex to flattened beetles, usually brown or black, but occasionally bicoloured, and glabrous or pubescent. Antennal club almost always distinct; head usually abruptly constricted at base of clypeus; frontoclypeal suture almost always absent; labrum often emarginate or bilobed (sometimes concealed); maxilla almost always without galea and  palp not expanded apically; hind coxae well separated; tibiae often expanded and serrate or spinose; first 4 tarsal segments often with expanded setose lobes; elytra complete or truncate, exposing one to several abdominal tergites. Notobrachypterus differs from other nitidulids in having a weak antennal club, a frontoclypeal suture and a distinct galea, while Cybocephalus is a minute, clambid-like form with only 4 tarsal segments.

Larvae oblong to elongate and subcylindrical to flattened, with dorsal surfaces often granulate or tuberculate and urogomphi (absent in Cybocephalus and Notobrachypterus ) often accompanied by second pair of projections (pregomphi). Most nitidulids have the frontal arms widely separated at base and the ventral mouth-parts deeply recessed, with longitudinally oblique cardines and blunt malae; however, frontal arms are contiguous in Pocadius , Cybocephalus and Notobrachypterus and cardines are only slightly oblique in the last genus. The mandibles are also distinctive in having a complex prostheca with fringes of comb-hairs (reduced in Notobrachypterus and absent in Cybocephalus ). The spiracles of many nitidulid larvae are located at the ends of tubular processes.

  • Nitidulid beetle feeding on Hybiscus pollen