(subclass Pterygota, order Coleoptera)
Family of tiny, red or yellowish beetles, 0.75–3.5 mm long. They have an ant-like appearance, with a narrow thorax, and a very broad, non-flexible abdomen. The elytra are short, with several abdominal segments exposed. One group, with much reduced antennae and maxillary palps, lives in ants’ nests. Some feed on food regurgitated by ants and produce from the base of the abdomen a sweet substance attractive to ants. A second group has 11-segmented antennae and unusually long clubbed palps, especially in males. It is found in leaf litter, under bark, or more loosely associated with ants. Larvae are poorly known. There are 5000 species, mostly tropical.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.