[Atlantic Canada Coleoptera]

Aeletes politus (LeConte)

Aeletes politus (LeConte) is a tiny (~0.9-1.1 mm) and intriguing hister beetle (Histeridae: Abraeinae) recently found broadly in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Davies (1991) reported it in Canada only from Ontario and Quebec. Perhaps because of its small size and inconspicuous habits it has been hitherto overlooked in Atlantic Canada.

The specimen pictured below was collected on June 28, 2003 in a salt marsh on the Trout River, Queens County, Prince Edward Island, Canada by Christopher Majka. It is approximately 0.9 mm in length. This is the first record of this species (and genus) from PEI. In Nova Scotia during 1992-93 Joyce Cook and Stewart Peck collected 38 specimens of A. politus in car netting done in Yarmouth, Shelburne, Queens, and Cumberland counties, indicating a wide distribution. The records ranged from July 13 to August 27.

In terms of diagnostic features Kovarik and Caterino (2001) note that it has the scutellum hidden; epistoma with stria along lateral and anterior margins, and the mesosternum with a series of sulci which extend ateriorly from the mesometasternal suture. All these features can be seen in the photographs below.

In terms of bionomics, Bousquet and Laplante (1999) say (translated from French):

"Under stones (LeConte 1853). According to capture data, the species is attracted to decomposing vegetative matter such as forest litter and old stumps; many individuals collected in Outaouais come from litter in abandoned beaver lodges. It was also captured in flight at twilight. Levesque and Levesque (1995) indicate that the flight period of this species extends between May and June in southern Quebec."

Select any of the thumbnails below to see a larger image.

Aeletes politus Aeletes politus Aeletes politus

dorsal habitus

ventral habitus

lateral habitus

Aeletes politus Aeletes politus Aeletes politus





Bousquet, Y. and Laplante, S. 1999. Les Coléoptéres Histéridés du Québec. Fabreries Supplément 8. 190 pp.

Davis, A. 1991. Histeridae: Hister Beetles. In Bousquet, Y. Checklist of Beetles of Canada and Alaska. Agriculture Canada Publication 1861/E. pp. 135-141.

Kovarik, P.W and Caterino, M.S. 2001. Histeridae Gyllenhal, 1808. In Arnett, R. H. Jr. & Thomas, M. C. [ed.] American Beetles, Volume 1: Archostemata, Myxophaga, Adephaga, Polyphaga: Staphyliniformia. CRC Press, Boca Raton, USA. pp. 212-227.

LeConte, J.L. 1853. Synopsis of the species of the histeroid genus Abraeus Leach, inhabiting the United States, with descriptions of two nearly allied genera. Annals of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York, 6: 287-292.

Levesque, C. and Levesque, G.-Y. 1995. Abundance and fligh activity of some Histeridae, Hydrophilidae and Scarabaeidae (Coleoptera) in southern Quebec, Canada. The Great Lakes Entomologist, 28: 71-80.

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