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Family Scarabaeidae - Scarab Beetles

Serica trociformis - male - female Carrot Beetle - Ligyrus gibbosus Dung Beetle - Dichotomius carolinus Southern Masked Chafer - Cyclocephala lurida Scarab at blacklight - Phyllophaga rhinoceros beetle - Xyloryctes jamaicensis - female Grapevine Beetle & grubs - Pelidnota punctata serica - Serica georgiana - male
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga
Superfamily Scarabaeoidea
Family Scarabaeidae (Scarab Beetles)
Other Common Names
Lamellicorn Beetles
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Several groups formerly treated within Scarabaeidae have been upgraded to family rank [taxonomy discussed in(1)]
Explanation of Names
Scarabaeidae Latreille 1802
The English scarab is derived from Latin scarabeus, meaning ‘beetle’(2) –- compare Greek καραβοσ, καραβιοσ ‘a horned beetle,... also a type of crab’; cf. Sanskrit karabha ‘locust’. The words scarab and carabid may be related; a connection of the Latin and Greek words with Egyptian kheprer ‘dung beetle’ (compare Khepri) had been suggested (Partridge 1958)
~28,000 spp. worldwide(1), ~1700 spp. in ~125 genera in the Nearctic region(3)(4), of which ~1400 north of Mexico(5), ~240 in Canada & Alaska(6)
Overview of our faunaFamily SCARABAEIDAE

Subfamily Scarabaeinae

Tribe Onitini Onitis


Tribe Acomini Acoma

Subfamily ONCERINAE Oncerus



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in our area, 2‒62 mm; worldwide, up to 160 mm; Dynastes is the heaviest beetle of our fauna
protibia widened, with outer edges toothed • antennae 10- or 9-segmented • last 3-7 antennomeres lamellate, forming a club that can be spread or folded • tarsi usually 5-5-5; protarsi may be absent • elytra not shortened or widely divergent at apex
larva & pupa scarabaeiform
Guide to larvae in (7)
worldwide and across NA
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.
Life Cycle
See Also
Tenebrionids may look like dung beetles
Print References
Internet References
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.Checklist of beetles (Coleoptera) of Canada and Alaska. Second edition
Bousquet Y., Bouchard P., Davies A.E., Sikes D.S. 2013. ZooKeys 360: 1–402.
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