Despite their rather reduced size (2,5 to 15 mm), these beetles are none-the-less highly coloured. They have a lengthened body and elytra parallel or widened towards their end. The majority are variegated, many are hairy and some have metallic colors. The antennae end often with a club formed by the three or last four articles.
Checkered beetles like heat, go nimbly and fly well. They live on wood, blooming plants, and desiccated carcasses. They are generally predators but they eat also the pollen of flowers. The larvae are predatory. The majority of the species live in tropical areas and are remarkable by their splendid colouring.