Map of Japan indicating locations of Aleochara species

The species of Aleochara can be found in four main regions: North America, Central and Western Europe, Northern Africa, and New Zealand (Maus et al. 1998). The richest in species diversity and unfortunately the least classified of the species occurs in regions of Europe (Balog et al. 2008). There has also been studies conducted revealing Aleochara species in Japan (Yamamoto 2013). It is also noted that there is a greater abundance of beetles in June, July, and August with the lowest amounts in fall and spring (Balog et al. 2008). Within these regions, Aleochara is known to inhabit all types of environment inclMap of Europe indicating locations of Aleochara speciesuding woodland, agricultural land, mountains, and rivers. How they select an oviposit location (where they lay their eggs) usually depends on where they can find an adequate amount of hosts (Balog et al. 2008). This is because when the larvae hatch, they parasitize on the pupa of another organism (see species interactions for more information) (Broatch et al. 2008, Royer and Boivin 1999). The female Aleochara finds these sites mainly through olfactory senses for they are attracted to the hosts by smell (Du 2013).

Aleochara species are known to inhabit multiple things. Most Aleochara beetles live in expelled animal feces, carrion (dead or decaying flesh of an animal) or decaying plant material. Some of the Aleochara are known to live under decaying seaweed on seashores (Maus et al. 1998). As noted before, the larval stage of the Aleochara bilineata lives in the pupa of other organisms, typically the Delia radicum (Broatch et al. 2008, Royer and Boivin 1999).

Rove beetles, the common name for the Aleochara species, are known to be somewhat diverse in habitat. Studies have shown that common habitats include farmland, forests and exposed river sediments. Exposed river sediments (ERS), a well-known habitat of invertebrates especially for ground beetles, consist of areas within a river where the sand, silt or gravel is on the embankment or uncovered within the stream. Because these beetles are not fully aquatic and lack aquatic adaptations, they do not live in the water, but rather in locations with a large amount of moisture near the water (Frank & Thomas 2013). Furthermore, ERS are classified as areas with deposition by rivers that tend to have little plant or bird interest. This means there is less competition and predation for the beetles to deal with. It is also believed that within highly human-managed landscapes, ERS are the last natural habitat available for these organisms (Eyre et al. 2001). A study conducted by Eyre et al. concluded that the rove beetles seemed to have a greater interest in ERS that had sand or silt compared to areas with gravel and rocks. There also showed favoritism toward lowland catchments, and upstream tributaries. These were the areas where the least amount of river management occurred. This shows that the beetles are more attracted to the natural areas in the river versus those that have been human-altered (Eyre et al. 2001).

Another niche the Aleochara species has occupied is the farmland. (Balog et al. 2008). A study by Balog et al. revealed that not only could the beetles survive in conventionally treated fields, but some even preferred this habitat to others (Balog et al. 2008). A conventionally treated field is one that is treated with fertilizer, pesticides, and other chemicals. This ability of the Aleochara beetle to withstand the treated field allows them to be a good candidate as a biological control agent. Meaning, they can feed on the pests ruining the farmers’ crops, diminishing the damage the crops receive (Balog et al. 2008). For this reason it is advantageous for farmers to keep Aleochara species around.

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For more information on the interactions of Aleochara and farmlands, visit our Interactions page.
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