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  • Blue Death-Feigning Beetle - (Asbolus verrucosus)

    Blue Death-Feigning Beetle - (Asbolus verrucosus)

    The Blue Death-Feigning Beetle is excellent at playing dead for as long as it takes for a predator to lose interest.

    Staff Writer (1/6/2016): 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 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.

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    Details of the:
    Blue Death-Feigning Beetle

    Category: Beetle
    Common name: Blue Death-Feigning Beetle
    Scientific Name: Asbolus verrucosus
    Other Names: Desert Ironclad Beetle, Ghost Beetle

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Coleoptera
          Family: Tenebrionidae
           Genus: Asbolus
            Species: verrucosus

    Size (Adult, Length): 18mm to 21mm (0.71in to 0.83in)

    Identifying Colors: blue, black

    Additional Descriptors: bumpy, dead

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Arizona; California; Colorado; Nevada; New Mexico; Texas; Utah; Wyoming; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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