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Genus Canthon - Tumblebugs

Dung Beetles with Dung Ball - Canthon pilularius Scarabaeoidea 01d - Canthon simplex Small scarab - Canthon viridis Dung Beetle - Canthon Canthon pilularius ? - Canthon chalcites Tiny scarab - Canthon viridis Dung beetle - Canthon sp ? - Canthon imitator Canthon chalcites from Illinois - Canthon chalcites
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)
Subfamily Scarabaeinae (Dung Beetles)
Tribe Canthonini
Genus Canthon (Tumblebugs)
Other Common Names
Dull Canthon (C. pilularius)
Explanation of Names
Author is Hoffmannsegg, 1817 (sometimes spelled Hoffmansegg or Hoffmanssegg).
The Century Dictionary (1) gives this derivation as New Latin, from Greek canthon (κανθων), a pack-ass, applied humorously in Aristophanes (Pax 82--Peace) to a beetle. Quoting from the Wikipedia article on the play:
... 'Peace' involves much innuendo, scatology and obscenity, and indeed the play opens with two slaves onstage, working dung into 'cakes' in a mixing bowl. They eventually explain that their master, an elderly farmer named Trygaeus, has grown disgusted with the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. Trygaeus has therefore acquired a giant dung beetle from somewhere and intends to fly to heaven on it, in the style of the hero Bellerophon mounting Pegasus, in the hope of obtaining audience with Zeus, king of the gods.
Numbers
Canthon; divided into three subgenera

Canthon (Canthon) Hoffmansegg 1817
Canthon (Canthon) chalcites (Haldeman 1843)
Canthon (Canthon) cyanellus cyanellus LeConte 1859
Canthon (Canthon) humectus (Say 1832)
Canthon (Canthon) imitator Brown 1946
Canthon (Canthon) indigaceus LeConte 1866
Canthon (Canthon) obliquus Horn 1894
Canthon (Canthon) pilularius (Linnaeus 1758)
Canthon (Canthon) vigilans LeConte 1858

Canthon (Boreocanthon) Halffter 1958
Canthon (Boreocanthon) depressipennis LeConte 1859

Canthon (Boreocanthon) ebenus (Say 1823)
Canthon (Boreocanthon) lecontei Harold 1868
Canthon (Boreocanthon) melanus Robinson 1948
Canthon (Boreocanthon) mixtus Robinson 1948
Canthon (Boreocanthon) praticola LeConte 1859
Canthon (Boreocanthon) probus (Germar 1824)
Canthon (Boreocanthon) puncticollis LeConte 1866
Canthon (Boreocanthon) simplex LeConte 1857

Canthon (Glaphyrocanthon) Martínez 1948
Canthon (Glaphyrocanthon) viridis (Palisot de Beauvois 1805)
Size
4-21 mm
Identification
Most are rather plain black, smooth dung beetles. Shape distinctive, see photos.
Range
Includes most of North America
Season
Spring through summer
Food
See video.
Life Cycle
These are dung-rollers, apparently. Adults found on dung, and sometimes on carrion.
Remarks
Includes several large, notable, species. Keying species is rather difficult from photographs.
Print References
The Century Dictionary--entry for Canthon (1)
Dillon, pp. 506-509, plate XLIX (2)
Harpootlian, pp. 13-14 (3)
Arnett, p. 170, fig. 416--C. pilularius (4)
Papp, p. 182, fig. 624 (5)
Salsbury, p. 179--photo C. pilularius (6)
Internet References
Insects of Cedar Creek--C. nigricornis (actually Melanocanthon sp.)
Works Cited
1.The Century Dictionary: an encyclopedic lexicon of the English language
2.A Manual of Common Beetles of Eastern North America
Dillon, Elizabeth S., and Dillon, Lawrence. 1961. Row, Peterson, and Company.
3.Scarab beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) of South Carolina
Phillip J. Harpootlian. 2001. Clemson University Public Service.
4.How to Know the Beetles
Ross H. Arnett, N. M. Downie, H. E. Jaques. 1980. Wm. C. Brown Publishers.
5.Introduction to North American Beetles
Charles S. Papp. 1984. Entomography Pubns.
6.Insects in Kansas
Glenn A. Salsbury and Stephan C. White. 2000. Kansas Dept. of Agriculture.