ISSN 1911-2173



Staphylinidae of Eastern Canada and Adjacent United States. Key to Subfamilies; Staphylininae: Tribes and Subtribes, and Species of Staphylinina

Adam Brunke*, Alfred Newton**, Jan Klimaszewski***, Christopher Majka**** and Stephen Marshall*

*University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East, School of Environmental Sciences, 1216/17 Bovey Building, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1., **Field Museum of Natural History, Zoology Department/Insect Division, 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago IL, 60605. ***Laurentian Forestry Centre, 1055, rue du P.E.P.S., Stn. Sainte-Foy Québec, PQ, G1V 4C7. **** Nova Scotia Museum, 1747 Summer St., Halifax, NS, B3H 3A6.


Rove beetles (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) constitute the largest family of insects worldwide, with more than 55,440 described species (Grebennikov and Newton 2009) found in a great diversity of terrestrial and periaquatic habitats.  In Canada, more than 1400 species are known and some large subfamilies (Staphylininae, Tachyporinae) have been nearly completely revised.  An excellent synthesis of the staphylinid literature is given by Thayer (2005); however, our understanding of staphylinid ecology and habitat requirements is still very limited. Recent work has revealed that staphylinids are dominant organisms in Canadian forest ecosystems (Paquin and Duperre 2001) and because many species require continuous, mature or old growth stands, the composition of their species assemblages effectively communicates the degree of natural or human impact upon these systems (Pohl et al. 2008).  In a recent review of the use of beetles in conservation, New (2010) highlighted the critical importance of species-level identifications in surveys aiming to document changes to ecosystems via human development or climate change.  The continued ability of insect surveys to address important ecological and conservation-themed questions depends primarily on the correct identification of specimens, which in turn depends on the availability of effective keys.

Although several recent works such as Klimaszewski (2000) and Newton et al. (2000) include keys to the genus or subfamily level, accompanied by line drawings of important characters, keys to most staphylinid groups are poorly illustrated and cover broad geographic areas (e.g. North America north of Mexico). Furthermore, many important staphylinid keys are scattered in the primary literature and can be time-consuming or difficult to locate.  These obstacles can now be addressed using online, open-access publication to provide richly illustrated, digital keys to the species of Staphylinidae known to inhabit eastern Canada and the adjacent United States (ECAS).  ECAS is defined here as Ontario eastward and includes the following states that are adjacent to eastern Canada: Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.  Although broader regions have been used in previous works (i.e., Northeastern North America of Downie and Arnett (1996)), ECAS corresponds well to a naturally delimited staphylinid fauna and has allowed the simplification of the keys through exclusion of southern or western taxa.

Despite the largest and some of the most conspicuous species being in the Staphylinina (Staphylininae: Staphylinini), the taxonomy of this subtribe is currently far from settled. The largest genus, Platydracus C. G. Thomson, remains under revision by the second author and thus no working key exists for the fauna of ECAS.To remedy this, we provide a regionalized Platydracus key in advance of the upcoming revision and describe a new species that occurs in ECAS.  Multiple accidental introductions (Newton 1987; Majka and Klimaszewski 2008), a history of incorrect names (Newton 1987), inadequate species descriptions, colour variation, and the presence of several rare or typically ‘southern’ species has further complicated the recognition of Staphylinina in this region.  Despite this, we show here that most Staphylinina can be easily identified to species using high-resolution photographs of readily visible characters.

In this first publication we provide an overview of, and a key to, the twenty-two staphylinid subfamilies occurring in ECAS, and then review the tribes and subtribes of Staphylininae and the twenty-five species of Staphylinina occurring in ECAS.  Keys presented here will also work for the fauna of Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.  We envision this first key as a nexus for future keys to link to, thus creating an integrated guide to the Staphylinidae of ECAS. Future publications are planned, with the most immediate ones covering the remaining groups of Staphylininae.


Materials and Methods

Specimen photographs were taken with a Visionary Digital imaging system and CombineZ or Helicon Focus software was used to combine multiple photographs into high depth-of-field images. Most photographs of living specimens were taken with digital SLR cameras and a 105mm macro lens, often with the addition of a 2X teleconverter or extension rings, but live photographs were also contributed by a number of collaborators using a variety of equipment (see acknowledgments). Online keys were created with Adobe Creative Suite 3 software, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and Fireworks.  Maps of species distributions were prepared using ARC MAP, with records previous to 1970 mapped separately from those occurring on or after this year in order to highlight possible distribution changes over time (this was not done for common species). Most species in potential decline reviewed herein showed a noticeable change beginning around 1970, with a few species ‘declining’ in records after 1980.  Thus, 1970 was chosen as a standard division point with special cases discussed under those species. Measurements were taken with an eyepiece micrometer using various dissecting microscopes.  A list of institutions from which material was examined and a list of contributing photographers are given in the acknowledgements.  Throughout, ‘abdominal segments 1-6’ corresponds to the segments numbered as visible and therefore represent anatomical segments 2-8. Unless otherwise stated, we follow the higher classification of Newton et al. (2000). 



We thank the following photographers for the use of their work, which contributed greatly to the aesthetic and scientific value of this publication:

A. M. Bradford                   Alexandria, VA, USA.

C. Eisemann                        Pelham, MA, USA.

D.K.B. Cheung                    Guelph, ON, Canada.

J. McClarin                         Nashua, NH.

T. Murray                           Groton, MA.

S. Justis                               Virginia Beach, VA, USA.

S. Perraut                            Hammond, ON, Canada.

We are grateful to the following institutions and individuals for making specimens, including some types, available for study:

ACNS                     Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Nova Scotia, Canada (Susan Westby)

ACPE                     Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Prince Edward Island, Canada (Christine Noronha)

AFC                       Atlantic Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest Service, New Brunswick, Canada (Jonathan Sweeny)

AMNH                   American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York, USA (Lee H. Herman)

ANSP                     Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA (W. Wayne Moss)

ANIC                     Australian National Insect Collection, Canberra, Australia (John F. Lawrence, Tom Weir)

Baldwin                   Brian Baldwin Collection, Mena, Arkansas, USA (Brian Baldwin)

BMNH                   The Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom (Martin Brendell, Peter Hammond)

Brattain                    R. Michael Brattain Collection, Lafayette, Indiana, USA (R. Michael Brattain)

BU                          Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA (James F. A. Traniello)

CAS                        California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California, USA (David H. Kavanaugh)

CASM                    Chicago Academy of Sciences, Chicago, Illinois, USA (Douglas J. Taron)

CBU                       Cape Breton University, Nova Scotia, Canada (David. B. McCorquodale)

CGMC                   Christopher G. Majka Collection, Nova Scotia, Canada (Christopher G. Majka)

Chantal                   Claude Chantal Collection, Varennes, Québec, Canada (Claude Chantal)

Cicero                     Joseph Cicero Collection, Gainesville, Florida, USA (Joseph Cicero)

CMNC                   Canadian Museum of Nature, Québec, Canada (Robert S. Anderson, François Génier)

CMNH                   Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA (George Wallace, John Rawlins)

CNC                       Canadian National Collection of Insects, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (J. Milton Campbell, Anthony Davies, Patrice Bouchard)

CNHM                   Cincinnati Museum of Natural History, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA (Kevina Vulinec)

CSCA                     California State Collection of Arthropods, Sacramento, California (Fred G. Andrews)

CUIC                     Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA (L.L. Pechuman, James K. Liebherr)

Curtis                      R. Curtis Collection, Chicago, Illinois, USA (R. Curtis)

DAL                       Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada (Tatiana Rossolimo)

DEBU                    University of Guelph Insect Collection, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

DEI                        Senckenberg Deutsches Entomologisches Institut, Müncheberg, Germany (Lothar Zerche)

DENH                    University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA (Donald S. Chandler)

DEPAUW              Depauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, USA

DHWC                   David H. Webster Collection, Nova Scotia, Canada (David. H. Webster)

EIU                        Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois, USA (Michael Goodrich)

EMEC                   Essig Museum of Entomology, Berkeley, California, USA (Cheryl B. Barr, John T. Doyen)

FMNH                   Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois, USA (Henry Dybas, Rupert Wenzel)

FSCA                     Florida State Collection of Arthropods, Gainesville, Florida, USA (Michael C. Thomas)

GSC                       Gary Selig Collection, Nova Scotia, Canada (Gary Selig)

Gusarov                  Vladimir I. Gusarov Collection, Oslo, Norway (Vladimir I. Gusarov)

Hamilton                 Robert Hamilton Collection, Chicago, Illinois, USA (Robert Hamilton)

HNHM                  Hungarian Natural History Museum, Budapest, Hungary (Zoltan Kaszab, Ottó Merkl)

Huben                    Michael Huben [formerly Huybensz] Collection, Massachusetts, USA (Michael Huben)

INHS                     Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign, Illinios, USA (Milton W. Sanderson, Kathryn C. McGiffen)

IRCW                    University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA (Steven Krauth)

IRSNB                   Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium (Leon Baert, Didier Drugmand)

ISMC                     Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA (Robert Waltz)

ISUI                       Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA (Ray Miller)

Ivie                         Michael A. Ivie Collection, Bozeman, Montana, USA (Michael A. Ivie)

JOC                       Jeffrey Ogden Collection, Nova Scotia, Canada (Jeffrey Ogden)

JohnsonPJ              Paul J. Johnson Collection, Brookings, South Dakota, USA (Paul J. Johnson)

Kistner                   David H. Kistner Collection, Chico, California, USA (gradually to FMNH) (David H. Kistner)

KSEM                   Snow Entomological Museum, Lawrence, Kansas, USA (James S. Ashe, Robert G. Brooks)

KSUC                    Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA (H. Derrick Blocker)

LACM                   Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, California, USA (Charles L. Hogue, Roy R. Snelling)

LEMQ                   Lyman Entomological Museum, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Québec, Canada (Terry A. Wheeler)

LFC                       Laurentian Forestry Centre, Sainte-Foy, Québec, Canada (Jan Klimaszewski)

LSAM                    Louisiana State Arthropod Museum, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA (Victoria Moseley Bayless)

MCZ                      Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA (John F. Lawrence, Philip D. Perkins)

MEM                     Mississippi Entomological Museum, Mississippi State, Mississippi, USA (Richard L. Brown, Patricia R. Miller)

MHNG                  Museum d’Histoire Naturelle, Geneva, Switzerland (Ivan Löbl)

Miliotis                   Paul S. Miliotis Collection, Dunstable, Massachusetts, USA (Paul S. Miliotis)

MPM                     Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (Gerald R. Noonan)

MSUC                   Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA (Roland L. Fischer)

MUNC                  Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

MZHF                   Finnish Museum of Natural History, Helsinki, Finland (Hans Silfverberg)

MZLU                   Lund University, Lund, Sweden (Roy Danielsson)

MZPW                  Museum of the Institute of Zoology, Warsaw, Poland (S. Adam Ślipiński)

MZSP                   Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (Hans Reichardt)

NBM                     New Brunswick Museum, New Brunswick, Canada (Donald McAlpine)

NelsonG                Gayle H. Nelson Collection, Blue Springs, Missouri, USA (Gayle H. Nelson)

NMW                     Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Wien, Austria (Harald Schillhammer, Heinrich Schönmann)

NSAC                    Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Nova Scotia, Canada (Christopher Cutler)

NSMC                   Nova Scotia Museum, Nova Scotia, Canada

OSAC                   Oregon State Arthropod Collection, Corvallis, Oregon, USA (Michael D. Schwartz)

OSEC                    Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA (W. A. Drew)

Patrick                    L. Brian Patrick Collection, Mitchell, South Dakota, USA (L. Brian Patrick)

PURC                     Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA (Arvin Provonsha)

RGC                       Rebecca Gorham Collection, Nova Scotia, Canada (Rebecca Gorham)

ROM                      Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Glenn B. Wiggins)

RWC                      Reginald Webster Collection, New Brunswick, Canada (Reginald Webster)

SBMN                    Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara, California, USA (Scott E. Miller)

Schulke                   Michael Schülke Collection, Berlin, Germany (Michael Schülke)

SDMC                    San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego, California, USA (David Faulkner)

SDSU                     South Dakota University, Brookings, South Dakota, USA (Edward U. Balsbaugh Jr.)

Sikes                       Derek S. Sikes Collection, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA (Derek S. Sikes)

SIUC                      Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, USA (Jay McPherson)

SMNS                    Staatliches Museum fur Naturkunde, Stuttgart, Germany (Wolfgang Schawaller)

SMU                       Saint Mary’s University, Nova Scotia, Canada (Doug Stongman)

Stephan                   Karl H. Stephan Collection, Red Oak, Oklahoma, USA (to TAMU) (Karl H. Stephan)

Suter                      Walter R. Suter Collection, Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA (to FMNH) (Walter R. Suter)

TAMU                   Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA (Edward G. Riley)

Thomas                   Paul N. Thomas Collection, Lombard, Illinois, USA (Paul N. Thomas)

Turnbow                 Robert H. Turnbow Collection, Fort Rucker, Alabama, USA (Robert H. Turnbow)

UAAM                   Arthropod Museum, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas (Robert T. Allen)

UAIC                     University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA (Carl A. Olson)

UASM                    University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (Danny Shpeley)

UBCZ                    Spencer Museum, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Robert A. Cannings)

UCDC                    University of California at Davis, California, USA (Robert Schuster, Lynn Kimsey)

UCR                       University of California at Riverside, California, USA (Saul I. Frommer, Ian Moore)

UGCA                    University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA (Warren T. Atyeo)

ULKY                    University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA (Charles V. Covell Jr.)

UMIC                    University of Mississippi, University, Mississippi, USA (Paul K. Lago)

UMMZ                  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA (Richard D. Alexander, Barry M. O’Connor)

UMRM                  University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA (Wilbur R. Enns)

UMSP                    University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA (Philip J. Clausen)

UNSM                   University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA (Brett C. Ratcliffe)

UMNB                   Université de Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada (Pauline Duerr)

USNM                   Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA (Terry L. Erwin, Gloria M. House)

Valentine                Barry D. Valentine Collection, Columbus, Ohio, USA (Barry D. Valentine)

VMNH                   Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville, Virginia, USA (Richard L. Hoffman)

Wappes                 James E. Wappes Collection, Bulverde, Texas, USA (James E. Wappes)

WFBM                  W. F. Barr Entomological Collection, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, USA (William F. Barr)

ZIN                        Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia (Vladimir Gusarov, Alexey Solodovnikov)

ZMHB                   Museum fur Naturkunde der Humboldt Universitat, Berlin, Germany (Fritz Hieke, Manfred Uhlig)

ZSMC                   Zoologische Sammlung des Bayerischen, München, Germany (Martin Baehr)

A. Brunke would like to thank D. K. B. Cheung (DEBU) for technical assistance and essential training used to construct the interactive keys. A. Brunke also thanks D. K. B. Cheung and M. Jackson (DEBU) for assistance with mapping software and creation of custom maps. Thanks to J. Renkema (NSAC) and D. McAlpine (NBM) for bringing the presence of P. cinnamopterus in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to our attention, respectively. We thank R. Webster (AFC) and A. Smetana (CNC) for recognizing the misidentification present in Klimaszewski et al. (2005). M. Thayer (FMNH) read an earlier version of the manuscript and provided many helpful comments. Funding for this project was provided in part by an NSERC PSG-M awarded to A. Brunke. A. Newton acknowledges U.S. National Science Foundation grant BSR-8906825 for support of databasing, dissection, and other activities in support of his ongoing revision of Platydracus, and thanks J. Klimaszewski for producing the aedeagal drawings of the P. cinnamopterus complex species used here (a more complete set of acknowledgments related to this revision will accompany its publication).  C. Majka thanks the Board of Governors of the Nova Scotia Museum for ongoing support.



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