Description & Statistics
Larvae of a few species of Anthicidae are predators of the immature stages of other insects, some being wholly predaceous while others are scavengers or plant feeders. Anthicus heroicus Casey is a predator of the sialid, Corydalis cornuta L. The neuropteron lays its eggs during midsummer in large masses of several thousand. These are covered with a tough, calcareous material, upon leaves or other objects overhanging or near water. Both larvae and adults of Anthicus feed extensively on these eggs, and a dozen or more may be found in a single egg mass (Howard 1896). The female beetle was said to gnaw a hole in the egg mass, in which she placed her own eggs. When finished feeding, the larvae enter the soil or trash for pupation. There are evidently several generations yearly, and hibernation is as adults (Howard 1896). Gill (cited by Clausen, 1940) recorded Notoxus monodon F. as feeding on pupae of Archips in rolled leaves.
Anthicids bear a resemblance to ants in and they frequently scurry about willynilly. They have a horned structure that protrudes toward the head from the pronotum. Adult beetles are often found on flowers and tree and shrub foliage, under logs, stones and debris, and burrows. The larvae live in decaying plant material and fruit (Headstrom 1977, White 1983).
This family of beetles is sometimes referred to as ant-like flower beetles or ant-like beetles that resemble ants. The family consists of over 3,000 species in about 100 genera.
Their heads constrict just in front of the pronotum, forming a neck, and the posterior end of the pronotum is usually narrow as well. Legs and antennae are slender, heightening the ant-like appearance, and the body is sparsely covered with long setae.
Adult beetles are omnivorous, being known to consume small arthropods, pollen, fungi, and whatever else they can find. Some types are of interest as biological controls, in the expectation that they would eat the eggs or larvae of pests. Larvae are either omnivorous, predators, or fungus-eaters; the young of one species of Notoxus have been observed boring into sweet potato tubers.
Many members of the family are attracted to cantharidin, which they seem to accumulate and that deters possible predators. Synonyms of the family include Notoxidae and Ischaliidae.
Headstrom, R. 1977. The Beetles of America. A. S. Barnes & Co. London & NY. 488 p.
White, R. E. 1983. A Field Guide to the Beetles of North America. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 368 p.