Emus hirtus at Elmley © John Walters

Identifying these staphs has been a great deal easier since the publication of the RES Handbook by Derek Lott and Roy Anderson (June 2011: £49 + £5 p&p from here). A few errors have been picked up and reported since publication. If you spot any more, please let me know.

Philonthus, p. 191, Fig. 334. The figure labels have been transposed for varians and jurgans – the one on the left (pointed) is jurgans and the one on the right (rounded) is varians.

Heterothops, p. 214, Fig. 342. The figure labels have been transposed for niger and minutus – the aedeagus labelled niger is actually minutus, and the one labelled minutus is actually niger.

I was pleased that Derek managed to include Quedius lucidulus (my recent first for Britain) in the Handbook at the last minute.

Derek passed away on the weekend of 18/19 June 2011 having just seen his second RES Handbook published. I am immensely grateful that he worked so hard in his final years to pass on his knowledge to other coleopterists, all the while suffering from cancer. A truly admirable achievement. He will be greatly missed but his legacy will be appreciated by generations of coleopterists.

Thanks to Israel Silva and Martin Harvey for letting me know about the errors in the RES Handbook.


  1. steve lane says:

    Leptacinus key:

    Leptacinus formicetorum species description:
    The length is given as 3-5.4 should this be 3-4.5?

  2. Derek Lott says:

    Yes, it should. Thanks for the feedback.

  3. Mike Williams says:

    Test key to genera of Staphylininae v2

    Couplet 30, first option directs to couplet 30 – should this be 32?

  4. markgtelfer says:

    Mike, The first part of couplet 30 in version 2 (which leads to 30) should lead to 31. The second part (which leads to 31 in version 2) should lead to 32. I have uploaded a corrected version 3 of the key to genera of Staphylininae.

  5. Alex Ramsay says:

    Cafius cicatricosus specimens in RMS are distinctly reddish overall when compared with other species of Cafius. I was under the impression that this species had been recorded recently?

  6. Ocypus/Tasgius version 3 – the numbering of the figures has got out of sync with the text in the key:

    Couplet 11b: fig. for pronotum/head should be Fig. 12; fig. for mandible (currently given as Fig. 11) is missing from this key, although an equivalent illustration is in Fig. 32 of the Staphylininae genera key; figs. of female abdominal tergite X should be Figs. 11 & 13.

    Couplet 12a: female abdominal tergite X should be Fig. 11.

  7. Staphylininae genera version 3, couplet 11: my specimens of what I think are Megalinus seem to have four longitudinal furrows on the frons, with the outer ones very nearly as strong as the inner ones.

    (However, being a novice at staphs this may mean my specimens are not actually Megalinus!)

  8. markgtelfer says:

    My specimens of Megalinus are the same. The inner and outer furrows are about equally deep. However, the inner ones are stronger by virtue of a distinct stria running along the deepest part of the furrow. I think the couplet should make more explicit use of body length (10-13 mm in Megalinus, 3-6 mm in Leptacinus/ Phacophallus).

  9. Derek Lott says:

    The number of frontal character is one used in all the old keys. I have tried not to slavishly follow these old keys because it is surprising how often these characters do not work universally. I think I may have been caught out here though. Thanks for the feedback. Just the kind I need. I have amended the key accordingly.

  10. Derek Lott says:

    The test key to Philonthus is now ready for posting as soon as Mark recovers from his new year’s celebrations. The new Quedius will be published in the next edition of the Coleopterist. So the handbook manuscript is making good progress toward publication. I hesitate to set any new deadlines for feedback, having missed so many myself due to illness, but I would ask for feedback fairly swiftly now as we near completion.

  11. Andrew Duff says:

    Philonthus key couplet 9 directs to 14 and 15. I presume it should direct to couplets 10 and 11.

  12. Derek Lott says:

    Thanks Andrew. You are right.

  13. Alex Ramsay says:

    Distributional notes:
    Tasgius morsitans (Rossi, 1790)has been recorded at several sites in southern Scotland, most recently Arran in 1996.
    Quedius auricomus is also present in southern Scotland.

  14. Mike Williams says:

    Staphylininae Key to genera (v3) – couplet 6 (part 2) says “body length <12mm", however the length given for several Quedius spp. is up to 13mm. Also, Joy has Q. lateralis as up to 14mm (although this may have been revised for the new work).

  15. Andrew Duff says:

    Heterothops minutus: species notes say “Male abdominal sternite VIII with small “v”-shaped excision on apical margin.” Should this be sternite VII?

  16. Clive Washington says:

    Probably too late to get into print now – but there seems to be an error in the Philonthus sanguinolentus description, in which it is stated to have a series of four punctures on the pronotum. Actually it has five – the key is correct so it is identified correctly, it’s just the description that is in eror.

  17. Graeme Lyons says:

    Hi Mark. Is that the actual Emus hirtus that I saw with you back in August 2003?

  18. markgtelfer says:

    Hi Graeme, It is the very same, photographed by John Walters at home in Devon before being released back at Elmley Marshes after its postal journey!

  19. Israel Silva says:

    Dear Mark,

    I recently ordered the RES Handbook on Staphylininae, and I’ve found one mistake on the Philonthus section. On page 191 the dorsal plate of tergite IX of P. varians is shown as pointed, whereas in the description of P.varians (p.207) tergite IX it is stated as blunt, and vice-versa for P.jurgans.
    Do you happen to know which one is correct? Is it just the legends of figure 334 (p.191) which are switched?
    Thank you in advance.


    Israel Silva

  20. markgtelfer says:

    Dear Israel, I don’t know whether the labels of figure 334 have been transposed, or whether the text descriptions have been transposed. But it seems much more likely that it is the figure labels that are transposed.

    I can’t find any mention of this character of female tergite IX in any other text (I’ve looked in FHL, Palm and Coiffait).

  21. At today’s BENHS workshop on staphylinids, Roger Booth confirmed that on page 191 [of Lott and Anderson (2011)] the figure labels have been transposed for varians and jurgans – the one on the left (pointed) is jurgans, and the one on the right (rounded) is varians.

    Roger also said that on page 214 the aedeagus labelled H. niger is actually H. minutus, and the one labelled H. minutus is actually H. niger.

  22. Ralph Atherton says:

    page 11, couplet 7. Should “upper surface of elytra” read “upper surface of pronotum”?

    page 13 fig 11. Does this omit tiny terminal segments from max. palpi as page 83 says all British Paederinae have them?

  23. markgtelfer says:


    Page 11, couplet 7 is correct. In Mycetoporini each elytron has a marginal stria, outside of which the elyton curves round underneath. In Trichophya pilicornis and the Aleocharinae, the elytra are just smoothly rounded at the sides, without a marginal stria.

    These groups of staphs are quite obviously different-looking if you flick through the photos in Tronquet or look through the drawers in a decent reference collection. Going through the key does seem a bit like unnecessary hardship!

    Page 13, fig. 11 does not show the tiny terminal segment, as you suspected. Looking at my paederine specimens, the terminal segment can be so small as to be invisible on some of them.

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