Specimen of Cryptophagus, photographed by Mike Quinn.

Belongs within: Cucujoidea.

The Cryptophagidae are small beetles that feed on mould and other fungi under bark and in leaf litter. Some cryptophagids may also be found in stored foodstuffs. The North American species Antherophagus convexulus may be found on flowers where they attach themselves to visiting bumblebees in order to be transported back to the bee's nest (Bouchard 2014). Species of Telmatophilus inhabit the flower heads of bulrushes and other water plants (Richards & Davies 1977).

Characters (from Lawrence & Britton 1991): Oblong to elongate, slightly flattened, 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, lightly sclerotised, with short and straight or sharply curved urogomphi (sometimes absent). Prostheca usually serrate, mala falcate.

<==Cryptophagidae [Cryptophaginae]
    |--Ephistemus globulus LB91, M83
    |--Micrambina rutila M83
    |--Myrecoxenus atomaroides M83
    |--Anchicera LB91
    |--Nganasania khetica RJ93
    |--Henoticus [incl. Cryptophagops Grouvelle 1919] L03
    |    `--Henoticus alluaudi [=Cryptophilus alluaudi, *Cryptophagops alluaudi] L03
    |--Antherophagus B14
    |    |--A. convexulus LeConte 1863 B14
    |    `--A. nigricornis C01
    |--Telmatophilus RD77
    |    |--T. caricis S00
    |    `--T. typhae S00
    `--Cryptophagus L03
         |--C. affinis G89
         |--C. angustatus Lucas 1846 E12
         |--C. castaneus T27
         |--C. difficilis L03
         |--C. distinguendus Sturm 1845 PN02
         |--C. gibberosus Lucas 1846 E12
         |--C. gibbipennis LB91
         |--C. labilis C01
         |--C. laticollis Lucas 1846 E12
         |--C. lycoperdi B74
         |--C. maurus Lucas 1846 E12
         |--C. puncticollis Lucas 1847 E12
         `--C. scutellatus Newman 1834 PN02

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B14] Bouchard, P. (ed.) 2014. The Book of Beetles: A lifesize guide to six hundred of nature's gems. Ivy Press: Lewes (United Kingdom).

[B74] Britton, E. B. 1974. Coleoptera (beetles). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers. Supplement 1974 pp. 62–89. Melbourne University Press.

[C01] Csiki, E. 1901. Bogarak [Coleopteren]. In: Horváth, G. (ed.) Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazása [Dritte Asiatische Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] vol. 2. Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazásának Állattani Eredményei [Zoologische Ergebnisse der Dritten Asiatischen Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] pp. 75–120. Victor Hornyánszky: Budapest, and Karl W. Hierseman: Leipzig.

[E12] Evenhuis, N. L. 2012. Publication and dating of the Exploration Scientifique de l’Algérie: Histoire Naturelle des Animaux Articulés (1846–1849) by Pierre Hippolyte Lucas. Zootaxa 3448: 1–61.

[G89] Gestro, R. 1889. Viaggio ab Assab nel Mar Rosso dei signori G. Doria ed O. Beccari con il R. Avviso «Esploratore» dal 16 Novembre 1879 al 26 Febbraio 1880.—IV. Coleotteri. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova, Serie 2a, 7: 5–72.

[LB91] Lawrence, J. F., & E. B. Britton. 1991. Coleoptera (beetles). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers 2nd ed. vol. 2 pp. 543–683. Melbourne University Press: Carlton (Victoria).

[L03] Leschen, R. A. B. 2003. Erotylidae (Insecta: Coleoptera: Cucujoidea): phylogeny and review. Fauna of New Zealand 47: 1–108.

[M83] Martin, N. A. 1983. Miscellaneous observations on a pasture fauna: an annotated species list. DSIR Entomology Division Report 3: 1–98.

[PN02] Poggi, R., G. Nonveiller, A. Colla, D. Pavićević & T. Rađa. 2001–2002. Thaumastocephalini, a new tribe of Pselaphinae for Thaumastocephalus folliculipalpus n. gen., n. sp., an interesting new troglobious species from central Dalmatia (Croatia) (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae, Pselaphinae). Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale “Giacomo Doria” 94: 1–20.

[RD77] Richards, O. W., & R. G. Davies. 1977. Imms' General Textbook of Entomology 10th ed. vol. 2. Classification and Biology. Chapman and Hall: London.

[RJ93] Ross, A. J., & E. A. Jarzembowski. 1993. Arthropoda (Hexapoda; Insecta). In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 363–426. Chapman & Hall: London.

[S00] Siddiqi, M. R. 2000. Tylenchida: Parasites of plants and insects 2nd ed. CABI Publishing: Wallingford (UK).

[T27] Thomson, G. M. 1927. The pollination of New Zealand flowers by birds and insects. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 106–125.

Last updated: 30 November 2020.


  1. Hi! 8D
    I´m writing to you from Finland. My broblem is that I´ve found a few plaster beetles from my new house. It´s been just build and we´ve been living in it for 2 months. I´m just wonderig where these kind of beetles could come from becouse it´s something like -20 degrees celcius outside and I store my food so very very VERY carefully after refridgerateing it that the bugs could not come from there. How can I get rid of those tiny litlle fellows or is there any need to get rid of them? They are pests are they? That sounds bad... ;)

  2. Sorry, I couldn't really tell you what type of beetles you're finding without seeing one. I recommend that you take some to someone in your area (perhaps at a local university?) who may be able to identify them.


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