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Species Bolitotherus cornutus - Forked Fungus Beetle

BG2182 C2677 - Bolitotherus cornutus - male BG2182 C2677 - Bolitotherus cornutus - male BG2182 C2677 - Bolitotherus cornutus - male These are so interesting looking! - Bolitotherus cornutus - male Forked Fungus Beetle - Bolitotherus cornutus - female Forked Fungus Beetle - Bolitotherus cornutus - male
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga
No Taxon (Series Cucujiformia)
Superfamily Tenebrionoidea
Family Tenebrionidae (Darkling Beetles)
Subfamily Tenebrioninae
Tribe Bolitophagini
Genus Bolitotherus
Species cornutus (Forked Fungus Beetle)
Other Common Names
Horned Darkling Beetle
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Bolitophagus cristatus Gosse 1840(1)
Explanation of Names
Bolitotherus cornutus (Panzer 1794)
cornutus = 'horned'
10-12 mm(2)
The male has a pair of stout, forward pointing horns
e. NA (NS-FL to AB-MO-TX) - Map (1)(3)
on hard shelf fungi or in crevices in bark where fungi are attached; especially common on beech and maple trees/logs; active at night(4); under bark(5)
Feeds on fungi - Ganoderma alanatum and G. lucidum (from this Comment)
Will also feed on Fomes fungi(6)
Life Cycle
Fungus with tunnels; tunnel; larva; pupa; adult; fungus with frass, fungus debris and adults
Beetles always make the entrances through the top of the sporocarp, whether they are living in Ganoderma applanatum in the northern part of their range or in G. lucidum in the southern part... Those living in the north are generally of a lighter color than those in the south, which tend to be black rather than cocoa brown. (Comment here)
Feign death when disturbed and live more than two years in nature(5)
When attacked they play dead or release noxious, irritating fluids from abdominal glands. The potency of these are determined by the fungus they eat.(6)
The variation of the horn and body size is determined by the quality and quantity of food consumed in the larval stage. Its the mothers choice of egg-laying sites that selects horn and body size.(6)
See Also
Bolitophagus corticola - smaller, with no horns
- Range: e. NA to AZ
Print References
Liles M.P. (1956) A study of the life history of the forked fungus beetle, Bolitotherus cornutus (Panzer). Ohio J. Sci. 56: 329-337. Full text
Pace A.E. (1967) Life history and behavior of a fungus beetle, Bolitotherus cornutus (Tenebrionidae). Occasional Paper #653, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology.
Works Cited
1.Catalogue of Tenebrionidae (Coleoptera) of North America
Yves Bousquet, Donald B. Thomas, Patrice Bouchard, Aaron D. Smith, Rolf L. Aalbu, M. Andrew Johnston, Warren E. Steiner Jr. 2018. ZooKeys 728: 1-455.
2.Tenebrionoidea of South Carolina
Janet C. Ciegler. 2014. Clemson University.
3.Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)
4.Peterson Field Guides: Beetles
Richard E. White. 1983. Houghton Mifflin Company.
5.Beetles of Eastern North America
Arthur V. Evans. 2014. Princeton University Press.
6.The Lives of Beetles: A Natural History of Coleoptera
Arthur V. Evans. 2023. Princeton University Press.