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Michael S. Caterino
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Containing group: Histeridae


Tribalinae is a small subfamily, with only about 200 described species. Most of the neotropical species (Plagiogramma, Epierus, Idolia) are associated with dead wood. Species of the large Old World Tribalus are more varied, including some dung associates.


Tribalinae are usually easy to recognize through a combination of characters. The prosternal lobe is well developed and usually set off by a transverse ‘presternal suture’. It is always extended laterally as ‘alae’ which close the antennal cavities from beneath. These characteristics are shared with most Histerinae, and the two appear to be closely related (Caterino & Vogler, 2002), but Tribalinae possess a pair of labral setae, which Histerinae (by definition) lack.

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

The relationships within Tribalinae (and the interrelationships with Onthophilinae) have been analyzed in an unpublished Ph.D. dissertation (Kovarik, 1994). Major changes in the composition of the two subfamilies have been proposed therein. However, the author is continuing to analyze his data (pers. comm.), and his revised conclusions are eagerly awaited.


Caterino, M. S., and A. P. Vogler. 2002. The phylogeny of the Histeroidea. Cladistics 18(4):394-415.

Kovarik, P. W. 1994. Phylogeny, chaetotaxy, and ecology of the Onthophilinae and Tribalinae. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation. Dept. of Entomology, Ohio State University, Columbus. 339 pages.

Mazur, S. 1988. New Neotropical histerid beetles with additional notes on the genus Plagiogramma Tasia in Curia. Polskie Pismo Entomologiczne 58:287-299.

Information on the Internet

Masahiro Ohara’s Histeridae home page: Tribalinae
Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Stictostix frontalis
Location Australia
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License - Version 3.0.
Copyright © 2002
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Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara, California, USA

Page: Tree of Life Tribalinae. Authored by Michael S. Caterino. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Caterino, Michael S. 2002. Tribalinae. Version 07 March 2002 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Tribalinae/9389/2002.03.07 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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