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Genus Mycotrupes

Mycotrupes lethroides - male Mycotrupes lethroides - male Mycotrupes retusus - female Mycotrupes retusus - male Mycotrupes retusus - female Mycotrupes cartwrighti live - Mycotrupes cartwrighti Mycotrupes cartwrighti from Tall Timbers - Mycotrupes cartwrighti - male Mycotrupes cartwrighti from Tall Timbers - Mycotrupes cartwrighti - male
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 Geotrupidae (Earth-Boring Scarab Beetles)
Subfamily Geotrupinae
Genus Mycotrupes
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Geotrupes (Mycotrupes) LeConte 1866; Olson and Hubbell 1954 [to genus]
Explanation of Names
"Myco" (G). 'fungus' and "trypetes" (G). 'borer'. I have collected M. lethroides under fungus, but otherwise not a particularly good name.
Mycotrupes cartwrighti Olson and Hubbell 1954 - Coastal plain GA, North Florida
Mycotrupes gaigei Olson and Hubbell 1954 - Central Florida
Mycotrupes lethroides (Westwood 1837) - Vicinity of Augusta Georgia
Mycotrupes pedester Howden 1954 - Central Florida endemic, threatened (1), considered by FL to be a SGCN (2)
Mycotrupes retusus (LeConte 1866) - South Carolina sandhills
Dull granulate black; flightless, fused elytral suture; sexual dimorphism obvious, males typically with cephalic horn, pronotum with apical pit; females without horn, pronotum evenly convex; margin between elytra and pronotum indented. Males also have the distal teeth on the protibiae forked. Olson and Hubbell 1954 stating "Sexual dimorphism moderate to pronounced; female having distal tooth of fore tibia of usual Geotrupine form, male having this tooth deeply and broadly divided, the mesal branch forming a slender, elongate, sharp-pointed prong.
se US. (historical NC records likely in error)
Isolated deep xeric sand regions in the SE

At least in FL, the species seem to be isolated not only by geography, but by habitat. M. cartwrighti is mostly restricted to upland areas with loamy soil and some clay underneath and appears to have an affinity for what has been called red oak woods or pine oak hickory forest rather than sandhill or similar habitats. M. gaigei seems to prefer sandhill habitat, although I have a few specimens from a xeric hammock, which is what sandhill turns into with lack of fire. M. pedester appears to prefer scrubby flatwoods rather than true scrub.
Cold adapted - Fall to Spring, although specimens of M. cartwrighti have occasionally been caught in the warmer months.
Leaves, detritus, dung and acorns.
Life Cycle
Most of their existence is spent underground - "push-ups" may indicate surface activity, but some burrows may just be a bare hole in the ground similar to some wolf spiders that do not build turrets.
Print References
Olson, A.L., T.H. Hubbell and H.F. Howden. 1954. The beetles of the genus Mycotrupes (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Geotrupinae). Miscellaneous Publications of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan. 84:1-59. PDF
Howden, H.F. 1955. Biology and taxonomy of North American beetles of the subfamily Geotrupinae with revisions of the genera Bolbocerosoma, Eucanthus, Geotrupes and Peltotrupes (Scarabaeidae). Proceedings of the United States National Museum 104:151-319.
Howden, H.F. 1963. Speculations on Some Beetles, Barriers, and Climates During the Pleistocene and Pre-Pleistocene Periods in Some Non-Glaciated Portions of North America. Systematic Zoology, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp. 178-201
Harpootlian, P.J. 2001. Scarab Beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) of South Carolina. Biota of South Carolina, Clemson University. Volume 2:1-157. [details M. retusus] (3)
Harpootlian, P.J. 1995. Notes and records of Scarabaeidae from the southeastern United States. Coleopterists Bulletin. 49(3):280. [Range M. lethroides]
Woodruff, R.E. 1973. Arthropods of Florida and Neighboring Land Areas. Volume 8. The Scarab Beetles of Florida (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Part I. The Laparosticti (Subfamilies: Scarabaeinae, Aphodiinae, Hybosorinae, Ochodaeinae, Geotrupinae, Acanthocerinae). [details M. cartwrighti, pedester and gaigei] (4)
Beucke, K. and P. Choate 2009. Notes on the feeding behavior of Mycotrupes lethroides (Westwood) (Coleoptera: Geotrupidae), a flightless North American beetle. Coleopterists Bulletin. 63(2):228-229.
Internet References
Works Cited
1. A distributional checklist of the beetles (Coleoptera) of Florida.
Peck & Thomas. 1998. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Gainesville. 180 pp.
2.Florida "Species of Greatest Conservation Need" (SGCN)
3.Scarab beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) of South Carolina
Phillip J. Harpootlian. 2001. Clemson University Public Service.
4.The Scarab Beetles of Florida
Robert Woodruff. 1973. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.