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'Little Bear' Scarab Beetle - Paracotalpa ursina

'Little Bear' Scarab Beetle - Paracotalpa ursina
Rainbow, San Diego County, California, USA
March 21, 2013

I am going to put this with the ones labeled as "rubripennis",
since it is cearly just a color variant of the same thing. However, it could be that the proper name for the whole lot is really subspecies "nigripennis". Color forms cannot be treated as good subspecies when they are members of the same populations, and when one can produce the other in it's offspring. Since the name "rubripennis is already posted on BugGuide, I'll leave it as is until and if it turns out that the other name is the proper one.

Moved from Paracotalpa ursina.

Two subspecies names have been applied
to the ones with a greenish thorax from the San Diego area. They differ in elytra color, yet clearly are the same thing, part of the same population, simply color forms, but I'm not sure which name has priority (if either yet). Both names were published by the same author at the same time, on the same page. The dark ones like this one were called ssp. nigripennis, and the reddish ones were called rubripennis. One or the other name is probably the proper one, but I'm not sure which one has been favored over the other in recent publications (if either has - yet?). They are discussed in this paper.

Or, are they now just considered as regional color variants of P. ursina ssp. ursina (the main distinction still being coloring)? Perhaps somebody looking in can straighten this question out?

There are more of these posted on BugGuide, but all have reddish elytra, and all are included under the name "rubripennis".

Moved from ID Request.

Paracotalpa ursina, dark form
Paracotalpa ursina, dark form. Very common in that area on Chamise this time of year.

Many thanks
I suspected it was a dark form of the scarab I'd seen last year at another location, but I know more about bird morphs than arthropod intricacies, so I went to the experts :D
Thanks again!

Maybe something like

that looks familiar!
It's neat to see a different form!

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