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Blue Death-Feigning Beetle (Asbolus verrucosus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Blue Death-Feigning Beetle.

 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.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Tenebrionidae
          Genus: Asbolus
            Species: verrucosus
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Asbolus verrucosus
Other Name(s): Desert Ironclad Beetle, Ghost Beetle
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 18mm to 21mm (0.70in to 0.82in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: blue, black
Descriptors: bumpy, dead
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.




Beetle Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American Beetle insect
1
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
3
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
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Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
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Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
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Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.