Blue Death-Feigning Beetle (Asbolus verrucosus)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Blue Death-Feigning Beetle, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 2/8/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Blue Death-Feigning Beetle is excellent at playing opossum for as long as it takes to convince predators to move along.
Blue Death-Feigning Beetles are native to the Mojave and Sonoran Desert regions in the Southwest U.S., but their range extends to surrounding states and Mexico. Unlike other Darkling Beetles, they are unable to secrete a noxious chemical to deter would-be predators. Instead, they have a remarkable ability to appear dead, often tricking humans as well as natural predators. A frightened beetle will quickly roll onto its back and bend all of its legs in order to appear dried out and dead to an approaching threat. The hope is that the predator will pass by, preferring fresh and juicy prey. The beetle will hold its pose for minutes into hours if it deems it necessary. They do not react to touching, pushing, or probing while faking death. Once the perceived threat is long gone, the beetle uprights itself and walks on, foraging for food.
Blue Death-Feigning Beetles are also called Desert Ironclad Beetles. They are built to avoid desiccation in arid regions. They are a steely blue color, including legs. Rows of bumps on the dorsal (back) side run in parallel lines from head to rear. They feed on plant and animal debris, scouring the landscape for bits and pieces all day. Some people keep them as pets. One beetle kept in captivity lived over 15 years. Those in nature tend to be most active in spring and early autumn.