Random Insect: Scarab beetle, possibly an earth-boring dung beetle

Beetle of the superfamily Scarabaeoidea, photographed 08/22/2010 near Blissfield Michigan.

I found this beetle trying to burrow underneath a dung pile I wrote about recently.  It’s in the superfamily Scarabaeoidea, and based on morphology and behavior I suspect it’s in the family Geotrupidae (earth-boring dung beetles).  The apparently 11-segmented antennae (unique to this family), 5-5-5 tarsal formula, prominent mandibles, and its affinities for digging and poop are my main evidence.

Scarab beetle with a mouthfull of dirt.

It also has a shiny blue metallic underside:

Scarab beetle unamused by my analysis.

It can be very difficult to identify beetles to any great specificity.  While some are quite unique and easily recognizable (like the Japanese beetles), the vast majority are very challenging to distinguish.  There are over 400,000 known species of beetles, comprising about 40% of all known insects.  The beetle order (Coleoptera) contains more known species than all other animals.  Since the beetle order is one of only about 34 insect orders, you can see that they’re disproportionately represented.


About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Entomology, Random Insect and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Random Insect: Scarab beetle, possibly an earth-boring dung beetle

  1. Jim Martin says:

    …seems like a quote from JBS Haldane would be appropriate here.


  2. Jeremy Sell says:

    The Creator’s fondness for beetles?


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