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Rove beetle facts for kids

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Rove beetles
Rove beetles of western Eurasia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Suborder: Polyphaga
Infraorder: Staphyliniformia
Superfamily: Staphylinoidea
Family: Staphylinidae
Lameere, 1900

The rove beetles are a family of beetles. The scientific name is Staphylinidae. It is the largest family of beetles. It has over 63,000 species. Some of these species are very old; fossils of rove beetles have been dated to the Triassic, 200 million years ago.

They are mainly recognised by their short elytra (wing covers) that usually cover only half of their abdomens.


As might be expected for such a large family, considerable variation exists among the species. Sizes range from <1 to 35 mm (1.4 in), with most in the 2–8 mm range, and the form is generally elongated, with some rove beetles being ovoid in shape. Colors range from yellow and red to reddish-brown to brown to black to iridescent blue and green. The antennae usually have 11 segments and are filiform, with moderate clubbing in some genera. The abdomen may be very long and flexible, and some rove beetles superficially resemble earwigs.

Some members of Paederina (specifically the genus Paederus), a subtribe of Paederinae, contain a potent vesicant in their haemolymph that can produce a skin irritation called dermatitis linearis, which in English has acquired the inaccurate name Paederus dermatitis. The irritant pederin is highly toxic, more potent than cobra venom.

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