I would argue, the most under-appreciated niche among Aleocharinae are the myriad of associations with plants. Naturalists wouldn’t associate aleocharines and probably staphylinids in general as being associated with plants, but of course, the ecologically promiscuous aleocharines have managed to evolve plant-associations multiple times. Although they never really take off in number of species, the ways they associate with plants are rather intriguing.
There are those that eat pollen, such as Platandria, Microlia, Amazoncharis, Polylobus, Oxypodinus, Heterotaxus. Himalusa eats foliage. There are some stranger ones still that are predaceous in the confines of inflourecsens and leaf rolls, such as Charoxus, Ctenopeuca, Heliconandria, and Polycanthode. And then those that seem to be openly predaceous on foliage, like Oligota and
Leucocraspedium Leucocraspedum (thanks go out to Margaret for pointing out the spelling error for the genus).
Below I quickly put together some adaptations that you can find on the fore leg morphology of plant-associated aleocharines.
Spines appear to be a popular theme in aiding with grip on a smooth surface, as can be seen in the pollen feeding Amazoncharis and Heterotaxus. Notice that Amazoncharis has stubby modified setae on the ventral surface of its tarsus in addition.
Heliconandria peoechma, on the other hand, lives in the leaf and flower rolls of Heliconia spp. Here, they likely prey on soft bodied organisms and participate in lapping up biofilms for microscopic food items. This species has additional fuzziness on the basal-most tarsomere and a modified tarsal claw. The tarsal claw is ventrally swollen, and has an additional facet which adds surface area.