Welcome to the Cholevidae Scratchpad

In the near future this website will serve as a platform for sharing and publishing taxonomic information on Cholevidae. The core of the site will be a searchable database of Cholevidae species descriptions, images, records, literature and much more. Anyone can view this information. Registered users will also be able edit and upload their own data and also edit data already on the site. Any advice, suggestion or request on how this website should be structured is more than welcome. Please do not hestitate to contact us.

General Information on Cholevidae

“The Cholevidae are a group of Coleoptera Staphylinoidea which has undergone several changes in taxonomy and nomenclature. Cholevidae were related, during the XIXth century, to the families Scaphidiidae or Anisotomidae; a single genus (Leptodirus Schmidt, 1832) was also related to the Scydmaenidae. From the beginning of the last century they were included in the Silphidae when Jeannel, in a series of works culminating in a monograph (Jeannel, 1936), separated the family Catopidae (and other families) from the Silphidae. In accordance with the principle of priority, the name Catopidae was recently changed to Cholevidae by Zwick (1979); this taxon is currently widely treated as a subfamily (Cholevinae) of the family Leiodidae, and is divided into several tribes and subtribes (see Newton, 1998; Perreau, 2000, 2008)." (taken from Casale et al., 2009)

“Cholevidae live in all continents, Antarctica excluded, and are represented by small and medium-sized species (from 0.8 to 9 mm).” (Taken from Casale et al., 2009) “They are ovoid in body shape, brown, grey or black, and as adults distinguishable only by subtle differences in the proportions of antennal articles, pronotal shape, and the genitalia (Jeannel, 1936); identification of the larvae is equally cumbersome (Zwick, personal communication). A significant percentage of Cholevidae are cave-dwellers, and some are highly specialized troglobitic elements (such as the subfamily Leptodirinae) or specialized inhabitants of mammal nests and burrows (e.g., the genus Choleva).” (Taken from Schilthuizen et al., 2011)

“The subfamily Leptodirinae is the one with the highest number of species; it is distributed, with very few exceptions, in the W-Palaearctic Region. Members of this subfamily are often hypogean, with scarce dispersal ability, and have undergone strong differentiation through isolation, which has resulted in a high endemicity rate. Moreover, the subfamily includes some of the species most adapted to life in subterranean habitats: Leptodirus hochenwarti Schmidt, 1832 is very famous, often being cited in biospeleology as the first troglobitic species ever to have been discovered and named.” (Taken from Casale et al., 2009)

“The majority of the species however are found above-ground on decaying matter, most commonly animal cadavers, where they probably feed predominantly on fungal spores (Peck, 1998; Betz, 2003). In temperate regions, they are among the dominant insect groups found on animal carcasses, both above-ground (Anderson, 1996) and buried (VanLaerhoven, 1999).” (Taken from Schilthuizen et al., 2011)

DNA Material Needed

Dear Cholevidae colleagues,

The Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity “NCB Naturalis” will carry out major parts of the global endeavour to create DNA barcodes for millions of species. Currently a new DNA barcoding facility at a European scale is being set up. For the Cholevidae, we are using DNA barcoding as an identification tool for larvae and unknown adults and for molecular phylogenetic studies. We aim to take photographs of representatives of all species and take legs for DNA barcoding. To this end we are looking for recent, DNA barcodable material (on alcohol) that has been correctly identified. The DNA barcoding results are made visible to the public on the BOLD, which in the near future will be linked to the scratchpad websites.

All contributions are extremely valuable. Thanks in advance for your help.


The Cholevidae team at NCB Naturalis.

For more information please contact: Menno Schilthuizen (Cholevidae specialist at Naturalis Biodiversity Center).

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith