Rove Beetle

a rove beetle, Staphylinidae, from Mombasa, Kenya, photo © by Michael Plagens

Many of these rove beetles were seen on in the resort areas arriving at lights and crawling on tourists. They are harmless. January 2012. Length about 5mm.

rove beetles on human skin - Mombasa, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Kenya likely is home to thousands of rove beetle species with the vast majority being rather minute and obscure in their habits. The best place to find them normally is within the leaf litter in wooded areas. None of them are harmful to people. This one is black and red suggesting that it might have noxious chemicals inside its body that would repel an insectivore - like a bird or lizard.

Rove beetles navigate their world largely based on chemical cues. It might be that my sun block or other volitiles in my skin are miscues to what the beetle is actually searching for. I was not alarmed.

Staphylinidae -- Rove Beetle Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 8 May 2012