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TENEBRIONINAE Latreille, 1802

Includes several common species, from a wide variety of habitats. Also includes a number of synanthropic species. 

POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

TENEBRIONIDAE Latreille, 1802










Tenebrioninae Latreille, 1802 is a very large group of about 30 tribes; 16 of which occur in the Nearctic while about 2700 species in 21 tribes occur in the Palaearctic, and the central European fauna includes 56 species in 13 tribes of which 22 species of 15 genera and 11 tribes occur in the U.K. The species are very diverse, even in the U.K., and each tribe tends to form a very characteristic group; the Blaptini Leach, 1815 includes species which in some sense characterize the family. European species vary from just over 1mm to about 40mm in length, the antennae are very variable but often short and stout and their insertions are always concealed beneath the genae. The eyes are usually emarginate, sometimes completely divided by the genae and, with the exception of the Helopini Latreille, 1802, there is no membrane visible between the clypeus and labrum. The tarsi are 5-5-4 without any lobed segments, and the claws are smooth. There is always a membrane visible between the third, fourth and fifth abdominal ventrites.

The Tenebrioninae is represented by 12 tribes in the U.K. Bolitophagini Kirby, 1837 is represented by 2 saproxylic fungivore species; Eledona agricola (Herbst, 1783) is widespread throughout England and Wales while Bolitophagus reticulatus (Linnaeus, 1767) is a very local species occurring in birch polypores in the Scottish Highlands. Tenebrionini Latreille, 1802 includes 2 species of Tenebrio Linnaeus, 1758; the widespread and common T. molitor Linnaeus, 1758 and the widespread but very local and generally rare T. obscurus Fabricius, 1792. Both occur in the wild but are known mostly as stored product pests. Alphitobiini Reitter, 1917 is represented by 2 species of Alphitobius Stephens, 1829, generally known as household pests they also occur in the wild in compost heaps and among other decaying vegetation or in trees or logs around decaying fungi. Triboliini Gistel, 1845 includes 4 species; 3 species of Tribolium MacLeay, 1825 and a single species of Latheticus Waterhouse, C.O., 1880. All are pests of stored food products and do not occur in the wild; they are regularly imported and occur only in heated environments, including, occasionally, households. Palorini Matthews, 2003 includes 2 species of Palorus Mulsant,  1854 both of  which  are only  very occasionally  imported

Tenebrio molitor

Tenebrio molitor

Blaps mucronata

Blaps mucronata

Nalassus laevioctostriatus

Nalassus laevioctostriatus

Uloma culinaris

Uloma culinaris

with cereal products etc. neither is established but they may develop very large populations in heated bulk-food stores. Ulomini Blanchard, 1845 includes the single saproxylic species Uloma culinaris (Linnaeus, 1758), a nocturnal species occurring on decaying coniferous and broad-leaved trees in a few South Hertfordshire sites. Pedinini Eschscholtz, 1829 includes the single species, Phylan gibbus (Fabricius, 1775), a locally common beetle of coastal sand dunes and shores around England, Wales and Southern Scotland. Melanimon tibialis (Fabricius, 1781) is our only member of the Melanimonini Seidlitz, 1894, a locally common species of coastal sand dunes and inland sandy areas across England and Wales north to Cumberland. Opatrini Brullé, 1872 includes the single species Opatrum sabulosum (Linnaeus, 1760), a locally common maritime species with occasional inland records. Helopini Latreille, 1802 includes 3 U.K. genera and species, all of which are nocturnal saproxylics. Helops caeruleus (Linnaeus, 1758) occurs throughout England but is mostly coastal, Xanthomus pallidus (Curtis, 1830) is a local maritime species of southern England, occurring under debris and among marram tussocks on sand dunes and beaches. Nalassus laevioctostriatus (Goeze, 1777) is a widespread and generally common species occurring on damaged and decaying trees and around the roots of heather etc. on moorland. Blaptini Leach, 1815 includes 3 species of Blaps Fabricius, 1775, all of which are synanthropic; two are of doubtful status while B. mucronata Latreille, 1804 is widespread although it has declined drastically in recent decades due to changes in house building and the use of existing housing.

UK Species

Bolitophagus reticulatus

Zophobas morio

Tribolium castaneum

Tribolium confusum

Tribolium destructor


Latheticus oryzae

Palorus ratzeburgii

Palorus subdepressus

Helops caeruleus


Xanthomus pallidus

Blaps lethifera

Blaps mortisaga

Blaps mucronata

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