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

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Cryptophagids feed on spores and hyphae of moulds and other fungi occurring under bark, in leaf litter or in nests of various kinds.


Oblong to elongate and slightly flattened beetles, usually red or brown in colour and clothed with erect and decumbent hairs (rarely globose and/or glabrous). Antennal insertions, exposed, lateral and well separated or more or less approximate; pronotum subquadrate with distinct lateral carinae or more rounded, sometimes with paired glandular callosities at anterior angles or near middle; prosternal process moderately broad and overlapping the mesosternum; elytra with apically widened sutural flanges and incomplete epipleura; trochanters more or less elongate; ventrite 1 much longer than 2.

Larvae elongate, subcylindrical to flattened, and lightly sclerotised, with short and straight or sharply curved urogomphi (absent in one introduced species). Prostheca usually serrate and mala falcate.


Introduced species of Cryptophagus , Henoticus , Atomaria , Anchicera and Ephistemus may occur in foodstuffs and some are common in grass cuttings and compost heaps. The endemic Australian fauna, which is large and poorly studied, includes several genera with New Zealand and South American affinities. [Aitken 1975; Crowson 1980; Evans 1961b, 1961c.]