a family of beetles. The body, which is 1.5 to 5 mm long, has a clearly separated prothorax. The elytra are oval or spherical, the antennae filamentous or serriferous, and the legs long. The beetles are black or brown, usually with a silky sheen. The wormlike larvae are thick and white. Of the roughly 450 widely distributed species, approximately 35 are found in the USSR. The beetles live in plant and animal remains and in dry timber. They are capable of suddenly assuming a frozen pose so as to appear dead. Some species, including Ptinus fur and Niptus holosericeus, are serious pests of stored provisions.