Random Insect: Darkling beetle

beetle

Darkling beetle (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae: possibly Asidopsis sp.) photographed 08/08/2014 at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota.

Darkling beetles (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) make up a large and diverse group of insects, with over 1000 known species in North America alone. Over 20,000 are known throughout the world, and species vary considerably in appearance. I suspect the individual shown here is of the genus Asidopsis, possibly A. opaca.

beetle2

Darkling beetle (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae: possibly Asidopsis sp.) photographed 08/08/2014 at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota.

Although they occur across most of the continent, darkling beetles are particularly common in the west. Many are adapted to arid and semi-arid conditions, and these beetles fill the ecological niche that is occupied by ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in areas with more moisture.

beetle3

Darkling beetle (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae: possibly Asidopsis sp.) photographed 08/08/2014 at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota.

Darkling beetles are usually encountered on the ground or under rocks, logs, or bark. The Latin name for this family means “lover of darkness” and these insects often remain out of view, scavenging for food. A few species are known to feed on decaying animals, dung, and fungi, but in general most feed on plant material. Some are also pests of stored grain.

Advertisements

About Jeremy Sell

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

One Response to Random Insect: Darkling beetle

  1. If more people would stop to look at insects and learn more about them, they would appreciate a whole world in their own yards…amazing… Michelle

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s