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David R. Maddison
Containing group: Carabidae Conjunctae


Bembidiines are small, often abundant carabids. They are most commonly found along margins of bodies of water, although there are numerous species living in more xeric conditions, and many dwelling in the soil (e.g., anillines). There is also a radiation of arboreal forms in the tropics (xystosomines). There are over 3000 species.


The most distinctive feature of members of the tribe is the reduced terminal article of the maxillary and labial palpi:

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This feature is shared among carabids only with Gehringiini and some Trechini.

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

No comprehensive examination of the phylogenetic relationships of the genera of bembidiines has been published; the poorly resolved tree presented above is based upon suggestions by Erwin (1972, 1994) about the phylogeny. Erwin (1972) proposes that the anillines are a polyphyletic grade derived from within the tachyines.

Geographic Distribution

Worldwide, with Bembidion dominant in colder regions, especially the north Temperate zone, and Tachyina and Xystosomina predominant in the tropics

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Erwin, T. L. 1972. Two new genera of bembidiine carabid beetles from Australia and South America with notes on their phylogenetic and zoogeographic significance (Coleoptera). Breviora, 383: 1–19.

Erwin, T.L. 1994. Arboreal beetles of tropical forests: The Xystosomi group, subtribe Xystosomina (Coleoptera: Carabidae: Bembidiini). Part I. Character analysis, taxonomy, and distribution. The Canadian Entomologist, 126:549-666.

Title Illustrations

From left to right,

Scientific Name Bembidion zephyrum
Location USA: Oregon: Whalehead Beach
Copyright © 1995 David R. Maddison
Scientific Name Pericompsus laetulus
Location Arizona
Copyright © 1995 David R. Maddison
About This Page

David R. Maddison

Department of Entomology
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to David R. Maddison at

Citing this page:

Maddison, David R. 1995. Bembidiini. Version 01 January 1995 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Bembidiini/94/1995.01.01 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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