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Sphindidae and sphindocis


There is a subfamily  Sphindociinae Lawrence, 1974 in Ciidae genus Sphindocis but not related to sphindidae!

sphindidae or clime-mold beetles for anyone wanting to have a small beetle vivarium. They are easily found and collected in the wild (near mushrooms) and can be kept in a container with suitable mushrooms. They are exclusively mycophagous, and live in tight association with fungi.


One of the diagnostic characteristics of Sphindidae is the cavity on the dorsal surface of the adult mandible, which Crowson (1981) suggests functions as a mycangium.  Sphindids possess many potentially mycangial punctures and depressions which carry myxomycete spores, but it is unclear if there are any specialized glands associated with these structures that facilitate the process (McHugh & Wheeler 1991; McHugh 1993).

Sphindids occur in most habitats that foster myxomycete growth, especially moist areas with abundant decaying organic matter.  All life stages typically remain on or near their myxomycete host.  Adults, however, may hibernate under loose bark, in crevices of wood, or in leaf litter (Burakowski & Ślipiński 1987).  Females oviposit directly on myxomycete fruiting bodies.  The incubation period for sphindid eggs is approximately three days.  Sphindid larvae live on slime mold sporocarps and have four instars.  Mature larvae use an anal secretion to secure themselves to the substrate before pupation.  The entire developmental cycle lasts from 20 to 30 days.

Relationship of Sphindidae to Other Cucujoidea

Although no unambiguous morphological synapomorphy is known for Sphindidae, the family is considered monophyletic based on a suite of anatomical features .  Myxomycophagy could be considered an additional synapomorphy for the family.

Sen Gupta & Crowson (1977) hypothesized that Sphindidae represented a basal branch of Cucujoidea, closely related to Phloeostichidae, Silvanidae, Boganiidae and Protocucujidae.  Multiple studies (McHugh 1993; Chiao and McHugh 2000; Ślipiński 1998; Leschen et al. 2005) supported a close relationship between Protocucujidae and Sphindidae.  Recently, however, the phylogenetic position of the family was brought into question by the findings of a molecular phylogenetic study (Hunt et al. 2007) which suggested that Sphindidae is not positioned among the basal clades of Cucujoidea.  Instead these new findings indicate a sister group relationship between Sphindidae and a clade comprising Tenebrionoidea and Lymexyloidea.  Additional study is needed to resolve this issue.


The classification scheme of Sengupta and Crowson (1977) divided Sphindidae into four subfamilies:  Protosphindinae, Sphindinae, Eurysphindinae, and Aspidiphorinae.  According to their arrangement, Protosphindinae comprised the single genus, Protosphindus.  Eurysphindinae also was monotypic, including only Eurysphindus.  Sphindinae comprisedSphindus and Odontosphindus, and Aspidiphorinae included Sphindiphorus and Aspidiphorus.  McHugh (1993) conducted a phylogenetic study of the family based on adult morphology and proposed modifications of the classification.  Under this new scheme, Protosphindinae, Odontosphindinae, and Sphindiphorinae each became monogeneric subfamilies.  EurysphindusAspidiphorus, and Sphindus were placed in Sphindinae, along with two genera, Genisphindus and Carinisphindus, that were established after the publication of Sengupta and Crowson’s classification.  This revised classification was supported by a phylogenetic study of adult and larval characters by Chiao and McHugh (2000) which also established the placement of Notosphindus in Sphindinae.

Other Names for Sphindidae Jacquelin du Val 1861

  • Aspidiphoridae Kiesenwetter 1877
  • Coniporidae Thomson 1859
  • Vernacular Names: Cryptic slime mold beetles, Dry fungus beetles


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