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Agyrtidae Thomson 1859

Primitive carrion beetles

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 Zeanecrophilus thayerae habitus
Tree after Newton 1997, 2005.
Containing group: Staphylinoidea


The small family Agyrtidae is temperate in distribution, extending into mountainous areas of Mexico and Asia. Seven of the eight genera are restricted to the northern hemisphere, and the eighth is endemic to New Zealand. Although Agyrtidae was first recognized as a separate family by Thomson (1859), most authors placed its current members in a broadly defined Silphidae until Lawrence and Newton (1982) resurrected it as a family closely related to Leiodidae rather than Silphidae. Newton (1991) reviewed the scanty knowledge of agyrtid larvae and later (1997) presented the present classification into three subfamilies along with a review of the morphology, relationships, biology, and distribution of the group.

Other Names for Agyrtidae Thomson 1859


Lawrence, J. F. & Newton, A. F., Jr. 1982. Evolution and classification of beetles. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 13: 261-290.

Newton, A. F., Jr. 1991. Agyrtidae (Staphylinoidea), pp. 324-327. In: An introduction to immature insects of North America. Ed., F. W. Stehr. Vol. 2. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., Dubuque, Iowa, xvi + 975 pp.

Newton, A. F. 1997. Review of Agyrtidae (Coleoptera), with a new genus and species from New Zealand. - Annales Zoologici 47: 111-156.

Newton, A. F. 2005 (in press). 11. Staphylinoidea. 11.3. Agyrtidae Thomson, 1859. In: Coleoptera, Vol. I. Morphology and Systematics (Archostemata, Adephaga, Myxophaga, Polyphaga partim). Handbook of Zoology Vol. IV, Arthropoda: Insecta (ed. by Kristensen, N.P. & Beutel, R.G., vol. ed. by Beutel, R.G. & Leschen, R.A.B.). De Gruyter, Berlin, New York.

Peck, S. B. 2001. Agyrtidae. pp. 247-249 in Arnett, R.H., Jr., and M. C. Thomas. (eds.). American Beetles. Volume 1. Archostemata, Myxophaga, Adephaga, Polyphaga: Staphyliniformia. CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, FL. xvi + 443 pp.

Thomson, C. G. 1859. Skandinaviens Coleoptera, synoptiskt bearbetade. Vol. 1. Berlingska Boktryckeriet, Lund. 290 pp.

Information on the Internet

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Apteroloma caraboides
Location Northern Sierra Nevada, California, USA
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source Apteroloma caraboides - primitive carrion beetle
Copyright © Alex Wild
Zeanecrophilus thayerae habitus
Scientific Name Zeanecrophilus thayerae Newton
Location New Zealand: AK, Waitakere Ra., site 681
Comments ex carrion trap (squid)
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Identified By A. F. Newton
Life Cycle Stage adult
Body Part whole body
View dorsal
Size 10 mm
Collection Field Museum of Natural History
Type Paratype
Collector A. Newton/M. Thayer
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License - Version 3.0.
Copyright © 2005 Margaret K. Thayer
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Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Margaret K. Thayer at

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Tree of Life Web Project. 2007. Agyrtidae Thomson 1859. Primitive carrion beetles. Version 10 May 2007 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Agyrtidae/9617/2007.05.10 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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