Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes


TaxonomyBrowse
Info
ImagesLinksBooksData

Family Scarabaeidae - Scarab Beetles

Please tell me what this bug is - Dynastes tityus - male UID BEETLE - Serica Phyllophaga, species??? - Phyllophaga glaberrima Scarab beetle - Hoplia trifasciata Nipponoserica peregrina - female Polyphylla decemlineata? - Polyphylla decemlineata - male Scooped Scarab in OK? - Onthophagus Beacon Rock Beetle 2 - Dichelonyx
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga (Water, Rove, Scarab, Long-horned, Leaf and Snout Beetles)
Superfamily Scarabaeoidea (Scarab, Stag and Bess Beetles)
Family Scarabaeidae (Scarab Beetles)
Other Common Names
Lamellicorn Beetles
Pronunciation
scare-ah-BEE-i-dee
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Scarabaeidae Latreille 1802. Taxonomic notes:
Several groups formerly treated within Scarabaeidae have been upgraded to family rank [taxonomy discussed in(1)]
Explanation of Names
There are various accounts of the origin of "scarab":
Westwood (1839:191-198): "The origin of the name Scarabaeus appears doubtful; the word, indeed, never occurs but in the writings of Latin authors; yet Fabricius and Olivier give its derivation from the Greek σκαπτω; which Mr. MacLeay doubts, considering it to be of Etruscan origin, adding, that it may have been obtained from the Greek σκαριφαοµαι, the verb διασκαριφησαι being properly applied to the actions of animals which scratch or dig up the earth with their claws. Pliny accordingly gave a particular description of the sacred beetle of the Egyptians under the name Scarabaeus; and, in later times, Linnaeus applied it in a general manner to the whole of the Lamellicorn beetles.."
The Century Dictionary (2) states that English scarab is derived via French from Latin scarabeus, meaning ‘beetle’ –- compare Greek καραβοσ, καραβιοσ ‘a horned beetle, stag-beetle, also a type of crab’; compare also Sanskrit karabha ‘locust’ (the often-cited reconstructed Greek forms *σκαραβειοσ and *σκαραβοσ are not authentic). (BugGuide editorial note: The connection with related Greek and Sanskrit words would indicate an Indo-European origin for the word. Etruscan, mentioned by Westwood, was not a Indo-European language. Note that this etymology shows that the words scarab and carabid are related.)
Eric Partridge, in Origins: a Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English (1958), gives some information for the related word carbine suggesting a possible connection of the Latin and Greek words with Egyptian kheprer ‘dung beetle’ (a scarab in the narrow sense; compare Khepri, the Egyptian god associated with the dung beetle.) Egyptian amulets representing the sacred scarab beetles were traded throughout the Mediterranean world; perhaps the word spread as well, but the resemblance between the Indo-European and Egyptian words may be also coincidental.
Numbers
ca. 28,000 spp. worldwide(1), ca. 1700 spp. in ~125 genera in the Nearctic region(3)(4), of which ca. 1400 occur north of Mexico(5), ca. 235 in Canada and Alaska(6)
Family SCARABAEIDAE
Subfamily APHODIINAE

NOTE: The taxonomy of the huge group traditionally called ‘Aphodius’ is a work in progress. In the Guide Aphodius is still treated as a single genus with many subgenera (now considered by most workers to be separate genera). We included thumbnails showing members of all the subgenera represented in the Guide. (More info here.)














Incertae Sedis Genera. Annegialia

Subfamily Scarabaeinae





Tribe Onitini. Onitis





Subfamily MELOLONTHINAE











Tribe Pachydemini. Warwickia (=Benedictia), Phobetus

Incertae Sedis Genera. Acoma, Chnaunanthus

Subfamily RUTELINAE





Subfamily DYNASTINAE







Subfamily CETONIINAE






Tribe Valgini. Valgus
Size
North American species, 2-62 mm, mostly 2-20 mm. Exotic members may reach 160 mm and weights of 100 g. This family includes the heaviest of our beetles, Dynastes.
Identification
variable in shape, oval to elongated, usually convex; often brown or black, but a few groups brightly colored and/or patterned. In some groups males (and sometimes females) have prominent horns on head and/or pronotum to fight over mates or resources.
Characteristics:
front tibia widened with outer edges toothed
antennae 10- or 9-segmented
last 3-7 antennomeres flattened (lamellate) to form a club that can be expanded or folded
tarsal formula usually 5-5-5, but front tarsi sometimes absent (0-5-5)
Guide to larvae in(7)
Range
worldwide and across NA
Food
Adults take a variety of foods, many feeding on fungus, dung, carrion, or other decomposing matter, some on sap, pollen/nectar, fruit, foliage; a few are agricultural pests, others, important pollinators. Larvae typically feed on decomposing matter: dung, carrion, etc., or live in soil and feed on roots -- some of these are agricultural pests.
See Also
Lucanidae and Passalidae also have lamellate antennae, but the lobes cannot be folded up
Geotrupidae, Trogidae, and Glaphyridae used to be treated as subfamilies of Scarabaeidae
Tenebrionids may look like dung beetles:
Print References
(8)(9)(10)(11)
Internet References
Northern Arizona Univ. Collection database (incomplete but still useful list, with some obsolete nomenclature and minor errors)
(12)
Works Cited
1.Generic Guide to New World Scarab Beetles (by Brett Ratcliffe and Mary Liz Jameson)
2.The Century Dictionary: an encyclopedic lexicon of the English language
3.American Beetles, Volume II: Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea
Arnett, R.H., Jr., M. C. Thomas, P. E. Skelley and J. H. Frank. (eds.). 2002. CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, FL.
4.Checklist and Nomenclatural Authority File of the Scarabaeoidea of the Nearctic Realm
5.The Beetles of Northeastern North America, Vol. 1 and 2.
Downie, N.M., and R.H. Arnett. 1996. The Sandhill Crane Press, Gainesville, FL.
6.Bousquet Y., ed. (1991) Checklist of the beetles of Canada and Alaska
7.White Grubs and Their Allies, a Study of North American Scarabaeoid Larvae
Paul O. Ritcher. 1966. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis. 219 pp.
8.The Scarab Beetles of Florida
Robert Woodruff. 1973. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
9.The Scarabaeoid Beetles of Nebraska
Brett C. Ratcliffe & M.J. Paulsen. 2008. University of Nebraska State Museum, Vol 22, 570 pp.
10.Scarab beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) of South Carolina
Phillip J. Harpootlian. 2001. Clemson University Public Service.
11.An annotated checklist of the Scarabaeoidea of Texas.
Edward G. Riley & Charles S. Wolfe. 2003. Southwestern Entomologist, Supplement. 37 pp.
12.Beckemeyer R.J. (2003) Dung beetles & their relatives in Kansas: an annotated checklist based on a review of literature