Tarphiota geniculata

Rove Beetle

Tarphiota geniculata

Order: 

Coleoptera

Family: 

Staphylinidae

T. geniculata are the smallest staphylinid beetles inhabiting the sandy beaches.  They are black, morphologically like T. fucicola, and range from 1.5mm to 3 mm long. These beetles occur in large numbers and are perhaps the most common beetles under kelp wrack. T. geniculata has a diet of mainly decaying arthropods, but consume fly larvae. They may predate on larger prey when attacking as a group, though this would not be coordinated on purpose.  A parasitic nematode was discovered infecting the guts of Tarphiota population in Goleta’s sandy beaches by students in Professor Armand Kuris’ marine laboratory at the University of California, Santa Barbara (Poinar et al.’s “Proparasitylenchus californicus n. sp. (Tylenchida: Allantonematidae), parasitic in the intertidal rove beetle Tarphiota geniculata (Mäklin) (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) in California, USA.)