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Species Fact Sheet
Caplothorax lugubris (Murray, 1864)

Figure 1. Male dorsal and ventral habitus

Diagnosis: Caplothorax lugubris specimens are distinguished from other eastern North American species by having a median longitudinal carina on their prosternal process (Fig. 3). Male specimens also have a pair of elongate oval depressions lateral and anterior to the supplementary segment on the 5th ventrite (Fig. 6). Female specimens also have grooves along the lateral margins of the pygidium (Fig. 7).

Distribution: Caplothorax lugubris is found in North America from Ontario to British Columbia, south through central America to Brazil. Widespread in the US.

Biology: C. lugubris, also known as the dusky sap beetle, feeds on a variety of overripe fruits and vegetables. It has historically been considered an important pest in corn (Connell 1956). More recently in North America it has been described as being a secondary pest, mostly feeding on ears damaged by other pests and only causing slight damage (Flanders et al. 2009). C. lugubris has also been collected from beehives which it may use as an overwintering site (Marini et al. 2013). It has several natural enemies including the minute pirate bug (Orius insidiosus), the wasp Brachyserphus abruptus, and a mermithid nematode (Dowd et al. 1995). Develops from egg to adult in 30 days at 24ºC (Connell 1956). Larvae illustrated and described by Connell (1956).

Connell WA (1956) – larvae and adult descriptions, key to larvae and adults, feeding habits on corn in Delaware, and development rates
Dowd PF, Moore DE, Vega FE, Mcguire MR, Bartelt RJ, Nelsen TC, Miller DA (1995) – natural enemies
Flanders KL, Heinrichs EAS, Foster JE, Rice ME (2009) – importance as a pest of corn
Marini F, Mutinelli F, Montarsi F, Cline AR, Gatti E, Audisio P (2013) – association with beehives and distribution

Double-click on images to enlarge


DiLorenzo, C.L., G.S. Powell, A.R. Cline, and J.V. McHugh (2021) Carpophiline-ID, a taxonomic web resource for the identification of Carpophilinae (Nitidulidae) of eastern North America. (vers. 01.19.2021) University of Georgia, retrieved from