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by Valerie

September, 2017

Darkling Beetle

A member of the largest genus in the family Tenebrionidae, the darkling beetle (Eleodes goryi) shown above is one of the most commonly encountered large black beetles here in Austin, but it has no more specific colloquial name. According to researchers, there are somewhere between 200 and 300 species of Eleodes, only the smaller number of which have been formally described. "Desert Stink Beetles" is sometimes used for the genus because 1. they are most diverse in arid regions and 2. some species are capable of squirting a noxious liquid from their rear ends to thwart predators. This particular one, though, does not produce such a chemical defense. In spite of that missing detail, the beetle still performs a characteristic headstand pose as if it COULD spray. It is well adapted to our often dry climate with a very thick exoskeleton and fused wing covers (elytra) that make it flightless but also more resistant to dehydration. This beetle has small jaws and doesn't bite if handled. It is a scavenger and can often be found searching for food on the ground and in low vegetation.

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