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Fancy Bolbocerine - Bolbocerosoma farctum - female

Fancy Bolbocerine - Bolbocerosoma farctum - Female
Snowhill Road north of Cabin Branch Creek, Treyburn area, Durham County, North Carolina, USA
September 8, 2006
Size: 14 mm
Two of these were found on a lighted breezeway 8:30 p.m. This was the larger of the two--the coloration looked identical. Captured, measured, and posed. This one stridulated rather loudly when handled.

Papp (1) calls this Fancy Dung Beetle, which is the only common name I've seen applied to this striking species. As per Phil's suggestion, below, I've just changed the caption of the photo.

This image is currently used on the title page for family Bolboceratidae at the Tree of Life.

Images of this individual: tag all
Fancy Bolbocerine - Bolbocerosoma farctum - female Fancy Bolbocerine - Bolbocerosoma farctum - female

excellent shots
Fancy Dung Beetle isn't a great common name - none of the Bolbocerines are "Dung Beetles". Maybe take a shot on some natural looking background as well. Nice detail. A female.

why do so many places refer t
why do so many places refer to them being dung beetles?

good question!
The guide page here for the subfamily Bolboceratinae mentions:
"adults feed on fungi; larvae of some genera (Eucanthus, Bolboceras, Bolbocerosoma), on fine humus formed into a brood ball"
That behavior is similar to that of many dung beetles, but it seems the food of these particular beetles is not (usually?) dung. Might be worth posting in the general discussion forum here on BugGuide. There are many beetle experts who participate.

Two in Ontario, Canada
I saw two of these in Ontario, Canada two days ago. One was hovering and the other was digging into the body of a dead shrew. It was the sound of the hovering beetle that first attracted me - loud! Both had what looked like little orange mites crawling on their backs. Babies?

Thanks, comments
Well, these beetles dig into anything natural as soon as they hit it, so I couldn't get a photo on a natural surface. I had trouble getting them to hold still enough for photos in an artificial container.
Good point about the name--I just used the one I'd seen in the literature.

One of these flew into my lighted garage last night at ca. 8:00. I collected it for a friend who is taking an NCSU Entomology course and needs a dung beetle for his collection. As I was carrying it into my house, it attempted to dig into my hand. I had Midas fly larve attempt the same thing years ago--that was actually mildly painful!


Great diggers indeed
A photographer I once knew had a tray with leaves, pine needles, etc for taking the 'natural shots' - but he did something quite clever (I thought) - he glued the sand together using very dilute white glue - kept the soil hard. Just an idea. If you know when and how to look for these, they're not uncommon, but the casual observer probably hardly ever sees these.

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