Rove Beetle

Subject: Insect ID please
Location: Easy Bay, Bay Area California USA
May 26, 2013 2:56 pm
In the last few weeks (mid May 2013 on) we have had 10-12 of these insects coming up from holes in our lawn. The majority seem to be without wings and also seem sickly, as they have trouble moving around. When they first appear from under the grass they are wingless. The attached photos show one of the less common (for us) winged forms. All of them we have seen have places for wings, but I can’t tell if the wings haven’t erupted yet, or if they have been broken off. We live in the East Bay of the Bay Area in California. Our yard has many trees and bushes as well as many older partially rotten hedges. The attached images also gives an idea of the size, as the individual shown is next to typical sunflower seeds. Sorry if it is hard to see, but these guys do not like being messed with and thrash around and place their legs above their bodies when I try to move them.
Thanks for any help you can give!
Signature: Becca

Rove Beetle
Rove Beetle

Dear Becca,
You have submitted a photo of a Rove Beetle in the family Staphylinidae, and we believe it is one of the Large Rove Beetles in the subfamily Staphylininae (see BugGuide).  Rove Beetles are soft bodied beetles without the hard elytra or wing covers that typify most beetles.  The flight wings are normally hidden which is why you have observed both winged and unwinged individuals.  Rove Beetles are harmless predators that help to control populations of other insects.  Your submission will not go live until early June.  We will be away from the office and we are postdating some submissions so our site will have daily updates during our absence.

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