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Histerid - Onthophilus wenzeli

Histerid - Onthophilus wenzeli
Cedar Hills Sand Prairie, Black Hawk County, Iowa, USA
September 2, 2006
Size: 4 mm
Collected by my coleopterist friend Ed Freese. Pitfall, gopher tunnel.

All pics taken with automontage system. Actual montaging done with CombineZM.

Images of this individual: tag all
Histerid - Onthophilus wenzeli Histerid - Onthophilus wenzeli

Pitfall, gopher tunnel?
Exactly how does one go about establishing a pitfall trap in a gopher tunnel? I've trapped a few groundhogs around my place that were attempting to live under my porch, but I never thought about trying to also trap the things that were attempting to live under the groundhog.

Are you still wanting to try?
I am doing a fair amount of pocket gopher surveying around here right now, prime time to do so, and have gotten a lot of cool material, including just today one specimen in this genera, a first for North Dakota. I can fill you in on the method, its quite easy actually once you do it, and the species you get will be well worth the effort, if you have not tried already. I am very interested in anything you may get out of any burrow, as I am working on putting together a doctoral project on just this habitat.

wanted to add to this thread
that the one specimen I collected from a pocket gopher burrow in Ward Co ND keyed out as this species.

The farmer has harvested the soybeans already (seems early this year), so the groundhog holes are more visible and accessable. And with all the rain this year, seems like the g-hogs are everywhere! If I can get anything, I'd be glad to share beetles, photos, or both.

get some PVC pipe
I used a 3/4 inch diameter about 4 feet long, go to a cooking supply store and get a nice little measuring cup, sturdy stainless steel is best, and one that may fit down the holes you are dealing with and get it firmly attached to the end of the pipe, so you have one LONG handled spoon that you can then run down the holes a few feet and scrape like crazy. Dump the scrapings onto a sheet and poke around for movement. you can also of course set pitfalls at the burrow openings and also sift any fresh gopher diggings for beetles. I am extremely interested in any beetles found, and can provide you with ID's. email me at, and we can chat more....

Pitfall, gopher tunnel
Hey Tim,

This species is found in pocket gopher burrow systems which are for the most part closed systems. Hence the beetles are rarely encountered above ground. I personally have never collected one of these. A single specimen has been collected in Wisconsin. We have done pitfall sampling similar to this example from 'The Gopher Project'.

Not sure if Ed used this type of pitfall in a pocket gopher burrow or if he had a trap in some other mammal burrow. I'll ask him.

You can get other histers by sifting the sand and debris at burrow entrances of other mammals too.

Thanks Jeff,
With my heavy dense marl soil I'm not sure I'm up for all the digging needed to employ this method in my groundhog burrows (with those around the house, I'm more motivated to use the methods seen in Caddieshack :) But I didn't know about sampling the tunnel debris around the entrance for beetles. I suppose some old window screening would do the trick? (~2mm square holes) I'm often shoveling it back into the holes anyway, so why not sift it a little first :)

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