The Cucujidae, "flat bark beetles," are a family of distinctively flat beetles found worldwide (except Africa and Antarctica) under the bark of dead trees. The family has received considerable taxonomic attention in recent years and now consists of 59 species distributed in four genera.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Dorsal habitus of Palaestes abruptus

Included genera are: Cucujus Fabricius, with 14 species and subspecies distributed throughout the Holarctic; Palaestes Perty, 8 spp., Neotropical; Pediacus Shuckard, 31 spp., mostly Holarctic, but extending south into the Neotropics and to Australia; and Platisus Erichson, 5 spp. in Australia and New Zealand.

Platisus coloniarus habitus
Dorsal habitus of Platisus coloniarius.

Cucujidae have elongate parallel-side bodies ranging from 6 to 25 mm in length. Most are brown colored, while others are black, reddish or yellow. Heads are triangular in shape, with filiform to moniliform antennae of 11 antennomeres, and large mandibles. The pronotum is narrower than the head.[7][8]

Pediacus subglaberMontage
Dorsal habitus of Pediacus subglaber

Both larvae and adults live under bark, otherwise little is known of their habits. Larvae appear to be predacious [9]

The family was formerly larger, with subfamilies Laemophloeinae, Silvaninae, and Passandrinae (and some tenebrionoid genera mixed in), but recent revisions have raised the subfamilies to family status.[7]

Cucujus coccinatus
Cucujus cocccinatus
Scientific classification

Latreille, 1802


Species with extreme freezing tolerance

Cucujus clavipes puniceus (red flat bark beetle) found in arctic regions like Canada and Alaska [10] desiccates to 30–40% body water in winter vs 4% body water in the chironomid fly, Polypedilum vanderplanki. It uses a variety of anti-freeze proteins[11][12] in contrast with the non-protein xylomannan exploited by another arctic beetle Upis ceramboides.[10]


  1. ^ C. F. Lee and A. Pütz. (2008) A new species of Cucujus Fabricius, 1775 from China and key to the east–Palaearctic species of the genus (Coleoptera: Cucujidae). Entomologische Zeitschrift 118 (5): 211–213.
  2. ^ C. F. Lee and M. Satô. (2007) A Review of the Genus Cucujus Fabricius (Insecta: Cucujoidea: Cucujidae) from Taiwan, Japan, and China, with Descriptions of Two New Species and the Larvae of Cucujus mniszechi Grouvelle. Zoological Studies 46: 311–321.
  3. ^ Teresa Bonacci, Antonio Mazzei, Jakub Horákand, and Pietro Brandmayr. 2012. Cucujus tulliae sp. n. – an endemic Mediterranean saproxylic beetle from genus Cucujus Fabricius, 1775 (Coleoptera, Cucujidae), and keys for identification of adults and larvae native to Europe. Zookeys. 2012; (212): 63–79.
  4. ^ John W. M. Marris and Adam Ślipiński. 2014. A revision of the Pediacus Shuckard 1839 (Coleoptera: Cucujidae) of Asia and Australasia. Zootaxa 3754(1): 32–58.
  5. ^ Michael C. Thomas. 2004. A revision of Pediacus Shuckard (Coleoptera: Cucujidae) for America north of Mexico, with notes on other species. Insecta Mundi 17: 157–177 (2003).
  6. ^ J. C. Watt, J. W. M. Marris and J. Klimazsewski. 2001. A new species of Platisus (Coleoptera: Cucujidae) from New Zealand, described from the adult and larva. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 31: 327–339.
  7. ^ a b Michael C. Thomas (2002). "Family 82. Cucujidae Latreille 1802. Pp. 329–330". In Ross H. Arnett Jr.; Michael C. Thomas; Paul E. Skelley; J. H. Frank (eds.). American Beetles. Vol. 2. Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea. CRC Press, Boca Raton. pp. xiv + 861.
  8. ^ Michael C. Thomas and R.A.B. Leschen. 2010. Cucujidae Latreille, 1802. p. 350-354. In: Leschen, R.A.B., R.G. Beutel, and J.F. Lawrence. Coleoptera, Beetles. Vol. 2: Morphology and Systematics (Elateroidea, Bostrichiformia, Cucujiformia partim). Handbook of Zoology. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin.
  9. ^ D. B. Smith and M. K. Sears. 1982. Mandibular structure and feeding habits of three morphologically similar coleopterous larvae: Cucujus clavipes (Cucujidae), Dendroides canadensis (Pyrochroidae), and Pytho depressus (Salpingidae). Canadian Entomologist 114: 173–175.
  10. ^ a b Ned Rozell (Oct 2007). "Alaska beetles survive 'unearthly' temperatures".
  11. ^ Carrasco MA, Buechler SA, Arnold RJ, Sformo T, Barnes BM, Duman JG (Feb 2012). "Investigating the deep supercooling ability of an Alaskan beetle, Cucujus clavipes puniceus, via high throughput proteomics". J Proteomics. 75 (4): 1220–34. doi:10.1016/j.jprot.2011.10.034. PMID 22094879.
  12. ^ Sformo T, Walters K, Jeannet K, Wowk B, Fahy GM, Barnes BM, Duman JG (Feb 1, 2010). "Deep supercooling, vitrification and limited survival to −100{degrees}C in the Alaskan beetle Cucujus clavipes puniceus (Coleoptera: Cucujidae) larvae". J Exp Biol. 213 (3): 502–9. doi:10.1242/jeb.035758. PMID 20086136.

The Boridae are a small family of beetles with no vernacular common name, though recent authors have coined the name conifer bark beetles.


Callirhipidae is a family of beetles in the superfamily Byrrhoidea. It was described by Emden in 1924.


The Chalcodryidae are a family of beetles in the large suborder Polyphaga.


Chelonariidae or turtle beetles is a family of beetles in the superfamily Byrrhoidea. It was described by Blanchard in 1845.


Cucujoidea is a superfamily of beetles. They include many fungus beetles, as well as lady beetles ("ladybugs" or "ladybirds"). Also included are a diversity of lineages of "bark beetles" unrelated to the "true" bark beetles (Scolytinae), which are weevils (superfamily Curculionoidea).


Cucujus is a genus of beetles in the family Cucujidae, the flat bark beetles. It contains 15 currently recognized species and subspecies.

Cucujus cinnaberinus

Cucujus cinnaberinus is a species of beetles in the family Cucujidae, the flat bark beetles. It is native to Europe, being most common in Central Europe and rare in much of Southern and Western Europe.This beetle lives under tree bark. It is associated with oaks (Quercus spp.), maples (Acer spp.), and poplars (Populus spp.). It can be found in various habitat types, including forests and urban areas. It is a saproxylic species, often feeding on decomposing wood. It has also been observed eating maggots and the larvae of other beetles.This beetle is on the IUCN Red List as a near-threatened species. It is on many national lists of threatened species in Europe. Forest management practices include the removal of dead wood and dying trees, reducing available habitat and food sources for the beetle.


Histeroidea is a superfamily of beetles in the infraorder Staphyliniformia.


Laemophloeidae, "lined flat bark beetles," is a family in the superfamily Cucujoidea characterized by predominantly dorso-ventrally compressed bodies, head and pronotal discs bordered by ridges or grooves, and inverted male genitalia. Size range of adults is 1–5 mm (0.04–0.2 in) in length. Currently, it contains 40 genera and about 450 species, and is represented on all continents except Antarctica; species richness is greatest in the tropics.

Historically, Laemophloeidae was treated as a subfamily of Cucujidae, but starting in the middle of the 20th century, most of what had been treated as subfamilies of the Cucujidae were considered to be families.

Most laemophloeids, adults and larvae, are found under bark of dead trees, where they apparently are primarily fungivores, although some genera with adults having subcylindrical bodies (e.g., Leptophloeus, Dysmerus) occur in the galleries of bark beetles (Curculionidae: Scolytinae), upon which they may feed. A few genera, but most particularly Cryptolestes, contain some species that are pests of stored grain products. The most important of these are C. ferrugineus (Stephens), C. pusillus (Schönherr), and C. turcicus (Grouvelle).Several genera exhibit unusual modifications to male antennae (especially Cryptolestes, Dysmerus, and Microbrontes), with the scape expanded into hook-like or blade-like structures Several other genera (Rhinomalus, Rhinophloeus, and Metaxyphloeus) related to Laemophloeus are atypical in that the adults are rostrate to varying degrees Photographs of most world genera are available at, and most North American species are pictured at,

Michael C. Thomas

Michael C. Thomas (born 1948) is an American entomologist who is co-author of the book series American Beetles.

Born in Miami, Florida, Thomas graduated from the University of South Florida in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in fine arts, followed by a Master of Science degree in Entomology from the University of Florida in 1981. Thomas has also received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

From 1986 to 1988, Thomas worked as a Taxonomic Entomologist for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.

Since 1988, Thomas has worked for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in Gainesville as a Taxonomic Entomologist, an Entomology Section Administrator, and a Curator of Coleoptera and Orthoptera. His research interests include the biology and systematics of Cucujidae, and the zoogeography of the Coleoptera of Florida.


Pediacus is the largest genus in the family Cucujidae. It contains 31 currently recognized species. Pediacus adults are relatively small (2.7-7.0mm), flattened brownish beetles with no or very small temples, and short antennae with a distinct club. Male genitalia are inverted and possess a short flagellum.

The genus is Holarctic in distribution, but extends south as far as Guatemala in the Western Hemisphere, generally at high altitudes, and into Australia in the Eastern Hemisphere. Adults and larvae are found under dead bark; frequently that of conifers in North America. They are thought to be predaceous. Most of the world fauna of Pediacus has been revised recently and the genus is relatively well-known taxonomically. Included species are:

In addition to the extant species, a single fossil species, Pediacus periclitans Scudder, has been described from the Eocene deposits at Florissant, Colorado. Its assignment to Pediacus has been questioned.

Pediacus andrewsi

Pediacus andrewsi is a species of flat bark beetle in the family Cucujidae. It is found in North America.

Pediacus depressus

Pediacus depressus is a species of flat bark beetle in the family Cucujidae. It is found in Europe & Northern Asia (excluding China).

Pediacus fuscus

Pediacus fuscus is a species of flat bark beetle in the family Cucujidae. It is found in Europe & Northern Asia (excluding China) and North America.

Pediacus ommatodon

Pediacus ommatodon is a species of flat bark beetle in the family Cucujidae. It is found in North America.

Pediacus stephani

Pediacus stephani is a species of flat bark beetle in the family Cucujidae. It is found in North America.

Pediacus subglaber

Pediacus subglaber is a species of flat bark beetle in the family Cucujidae. It is found in North America.


The Rhinorhipidae are a family of beetles, in the large suborder Polyphaga. It contains the single genus Rhinorhipus with a single species Rhinorhipus tamborinensis


Silvanidae, "silvan flat bark beetles", is a family of beetles in the superfamily Cucujoidea, consisting of 58 described genera and about 500 described species. The family is represented on all continents except Antarctica, and is most diverse at both the generic and species levels in the Old World tropics.Silvanids generally are small, brownish, flattened, pubescent and densely punctured beetles ranging from 1.2-15mm in length, and mostly with a 5-5-5 tarsal formula. They have short, strongly clubbed, to very elongate antennae, and frequently grooves or carinae on the head and/or pronotum. Many genera have the lateral margins of the pronotum dentate or denticulate. The family is divided unequally into two subfamilies: Brontinae and Silvaninae. The Brontinae, arranged in two tribes (Brontini and Telephanini) of 10 genera each, are larger, loosely jointed beetles with long antennae, an especially elongate scape, inverted male genitalia, and mandibular mycangia. Both brontine tribes have recently been reviewed at the genus level. The Silvaninae, which has not been divided into tribes, consists of 48 genera of mostly smaller beetles characterized by their closed procoxal cavities, mostly without mandibular mycangia, and non-inverted male genitalia.The largest genera are Telephanus (109 species), Psammoecus (81 species), and Cryptamorpha (27 species) (all Brontinae: Telephanini) and the Old World silvanine genus Airaphilus (35 species). There have been a number of major taxonomic studies in the Silvanidae in recent decades, including Halstead (1973), Sen Gupta and Pal (1996), Pal (1981, 1985), and Karner (1995, 2012).

Investigations into the phylogenetic relationships within the family and between the Silvanidae and other cucujoids are at the preliminary stages. A phylogenetic analysis of the "primitive" cucujoids using morphological characters of larvae and adults found a close relationship between the Silvanidae and Cucujidae. A molecular phylogenetic study primarily aimed at clarifying the status of the more "advanced" cucujoids nevertheless included exemplars of the basal taxa. It showed a close relationship between Passandridae and Silvanidae, and a more distant one with Cucujidae.

Extant Coleoptera families


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