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Darkling Beetle - Epitragodes tomentosus

Darkling Beetle - Epitragodes tomentosus
Frenchman's Forest Natural Area, Palm Beach County, Florida, USA
June 18, 2004
If memory serves, this beetle was found on a Scrub Oak.

Epitragodes tomentosus (LeConte 1866)
Eric is right- this is a tenebrionid beetle. It is a good photo of Epitragodes tomentosus (Tenebrionidae: Pimeliinae: Epitragini). There are ten genera in this tribe recorded from North America and most of them (the genera!) look nearly identical at first glance. Fortunately, in this case, the obvious pubescence and locality gives this critter away- no other species I've seen (and I may not have seen them all) has this striking a pubescence, and there are only a few species known from the Southeast. The "Beetles of Florida" website lists two subspecies, but I don't know how to distinguish them.

I have no idea what these things do, but I collected a different species from this tribe out of a rotting cactus in the savanahs of southern Guyana.



The difference -
This looks like E. tomentosus macilentus Casey 1907 - any real difference?

Key to the Florida spp.; Subfamily Pimeliinae of Florida

Hard to say...

Thanks for coming up with these references- they are definitely helpful. The key you found uses only ventral characters to distinguish the subspecies, making a determination using a dorsal photo questionable. However, if you compare the photos you pointed to to the specimen in question, I'd have to go with E. t. tomentosus because 1. it appears to have more pronounced elytral striae and a less-rounded pronotum than E. t. macilentus.



Yes, nice reference - great figures
Zack -
You're right - its tough to tell, I was cueing in on the type/pattern of setae on the pronotum, but the nominate form has clumped patches of setae on the elytra like the posted image. Given that macilentus is a Casey name - I'm taking it with a grain of salt. That's why I created only the species guide page for now - not even going to worry about subspecies.
This would perhaps have been easier if this was shot from, say NC.

This is probably a darkling beetle, but I wouldn't stake my reputation on it:-) Tenebrionidae are highly variable, and I usually rule out that family before looking elsewhere!

That's just my first impression. Any idea of size?

If I recall correctly...
Perhaps 10+/- mm...

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