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Rove beetles (Staphylinidae)

Taxonomic group

Family: Staphylinidae

Diagnostic features

New Zealand staphylinids are largely terrestrial, but the adults often live along stream margins and can be collected in stream samples. They have somewhat slender, non-streamlined bodies, with elytra (wing covers) that only cover a small part (if any) of the abdomen. They have relatively long, multi-segmented antennae with no club of enlarged segments.

Typical habitats

Staphylinids can be common along the margins of a wide range of stream types.


Different species may be scavengers (feeding on organic detritus), algae feeders or predators.

Indicator value

  • Hard bottom: 5
  • Soft bottom: 6.2

The tolerance values (ranging from 0 to 10) give an indication of which are the sensitive taxa (values of 8 or more) and which are the tolerant taxa (values of 3 or less). For more information see: Indicator species

Being primarily terrestrial, staphylinids probably have little value as water quality indicators. They have mid-range tolerance values of 5 (hard bottom sites) and 6.2 (soft bottom sites).