The family was previously a subfamily of the Scarabaeidae and is now regarded as a separate family under the Scarabaeoidea. It includes many genera and species (more than 10,000) and has a world-wide distribution. They are commonly called cockchafers (more specific the genus Melolontha) or June beetles (more specific the genus Phyllophaga). The larvae (‘white grubs’) are pests of crops and attack the roots and underground parts of the plants.
Members of the family can be recognized by a combination of different characters, including:
• at rest, the inner sides of both elytra touch each other or almost meet until the tips,
• the 2 claws on the tarsi have equal lengths,
• the fore tibia has a moveable spur on the inside near the end but before the insertion of the tarsus,
• the antenna has few hairs and the club 3-7 leaf-shaped lamellae.
The following genera and individual species are currently entered under Melolonthidae: