The family Cepheusidae occurs worldwide except in Antarctica. Juveniles bear scalps from previous instars and have peculiar leaf-like setae. They are reputed to be among the most beautiful oribatids known.

The family Cepheusidae includes 15 genera, 89 species and 2 subspecies (Subías 2023).


The adults are usually large, seldom medium-sized (500–1200 µm long) and brown or dark brown. The notogaster is relatively broad and has often rounded protrusions in the front. The notogaster has 9–10 pairs of setae, all these setae are located in a marginal or posteromarginal position, while the central part of the notogaster lacks setae. The body surface is often sculptured, and it is smooth only in Conoppia species. Juveniles bear scalps from previous instars and have peculiar leaf-like setae (Weigmann 2006, Norton and Behan-Pelletier 2009, Behan-Pelletier and Lindo 2023).

Habitat and ecology

Cepheusidae species are found in forests, where they are common in moss and litter. They can also be found under lichens, on fruiting bodies of fungi on trees, and in rotting wood (Norton and Behan-Pelletier 2009, Behan-Pelletier and Lindo 2023). Cepheus latus (C.L. Koch, 1835) is a true wood borer in birch twigs (Wallwork 1958) and is macrophytophagous (Mitchell 1978), which means that it feeds on higher plant material only. Fossil Cepheus species are known from Baltic amber (Labandeira et al. 1997).

Cepheus cepheiformis (Nicolet, 1855) described here, is an intermediate host of tapeworms (Denegri 1993). Cepheusidae reproduce sexually (Maraun et al. 2019). The time of the development is known only for Conoppia palmicincta (Michael, 1880). It lasted 375 days from egg to adult under laboratory conditions at 25° C (Pfingstl and Schatz 2021).


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