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Dentate Stink Beetle (Eleodes dentipes)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Dentate Stink Beetle, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 6/25/2015; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Dentate Stink Beetle  
Picture of Dentate-Stink-Beetle

Stink Beetles are at home in the Sonoran desert of the American Southwest and northern Mexico.

Most Darkling Beetles like this one are completely black. Their heads are round and wide and their antennae somewhat resemble a row of black pearls. There are a variety of species in the Eleodes genus, many of them found in Mexico. They are members of the Stink Beetle, or Pinacate Beetle Family, meaning they are capable of spraying pungent, malodorous chemicals from the tip of the abdomen in defense. To prepare for discharge, they lift the abdomen into the air, almost as if doing a headstand. Some predators have found ways to avoid getting sprayed. Mice pick up the Stink Beetle and force its 'tail' into the ground before eating it from the head down.

Adults are wingless and cannot fly. The elytra (wing covering) is fused at the midline to prevent desiccation. This species is lives and thrives in a desert habitat, so water preservation is worth the sacrifice. This insect is a scavenger of plant debris and can be found walking the ground looking for bits of plant matter to eat. Its larvae are also called false wireworms and can be found just below the surface nibbling on decaying plant matter. Adults are active from spring through autumn. During the day, they can be found hiding under rocks, wood or in abandoned rodent holes. At dusk, they start scrounging the area for food.

Dentate Stink Beetle Information

Category: Beetle
Common Name: Dentate Stink Beetle
Scientific Name: Eleodes dentipes
Other Name(s): Skunk Beetle, Pinacate Beetle

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Coleoptera
     Arrow graphic Family: Tenebrionidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Eleodes
       Arrow graphic Species: dentipes

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 16 mm to 28 mm (0.624 inches to 1.092 inches)
Identifying Colors: black
Additional Descriptors: smell, odor, fluid, fast, headstand, butt

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

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that 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. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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