The Rove Beetle

 Picture of a black Aleochara beetle

Welcome to the world of Aleochara bilineata, or more commonly known as, the Rove Beetle. Rove beetles are jet black beetles only measuring 5-6mm long. Although these beetles are small, they are capable of tasks no other beetle can perform. These insects are one of the only known types of beetles who function as both a parasite and a predator (Shelton 2013).  

A. bilineata
are the most commonly studied species in their family, Staphylinidae. Though this family consists of 400 other species, A. bilineata are the only ones used as biological control agents. These beetles will lay their eggs in the soil near roots of crops, such as cabbage, onions, and canola. In the beginning of their life cycle they are classified as parasites because once they hatch from their eggs, seek a puparium to inhabit (Warwick Crop Centre 2011). They will often spend the winter inside their host, eating the pupa and growing into second stage larva. A. bilineata’s main host is the cabbage maggot pupa. After emerging from their host, they have reached their adult stage. Adult A. bilineata are predators of cabbage maggot’s larva, among other things. An adult beetle can consume up to five maggot larva perGreen leafy cabbage day, totaling to 130 larva in their lifetime! A pair of beetles will produce enough offspring throughout their lives to destroy 1200 eggs (Shelton 2013). That is why they are known as productive control agents.

Although they are known for living in the soil around crops, they can also be found in a variety of environments. These environments include forests, riverbanks, and mountains. Within these environments, A. bilineata live in close proximity to other beetle species. They can be identified from related beetles by their short elytra. Elytra are a specific characteristic to beetles and are defined as the hard outer wings that protect and cover the thinner wings commonly used for flight (Meyer 2009). For more information about the physical characteristics of these neat bugs, visit the form and function page!


To explore other beetles, arthropods, and all other worldly organisms, check out!

Check out our reference page for more information on our facts and sources!

Disclaimer from the creators of this website: we cannot hyperlink the cover photo to the original page due to the setup of this website template. The image was found under the public domain with some rights reserved. To access the link to the copyright, click here. To access the oiginal image, click here.