The female Rainbow Scarab Beetle is a delight to the eyes with her many metallic colors.
Rainbow Scarab Beetles are extremely good at degrading feces. When breeding, these tunneling insects will dig a chamber in the soil under a pile of dung and prepare the dung into feeding balls for hatching larvae. Eggs, along with balls of dung for food, are laid in the chamber. New hatchlings will molt and pupate underground emerging as adults. They feed on the dungballs as they develop. Adults also eat animal dung, preferring pig and opossum dung over others. This unique diet is a critical part of recycling nutrients in an ecosystem. The benefits of the beetles is well-known in conservation because they help reduce damage created by large quantities of dung left behind by ruminants (plant-eating animals like cows). Rainbow Scarab Beetles also seem to out-compete a species of blood-sucking horn fly, making it difficult for the horn fly to establish a population.
The colorful, metallic females inspired their common name. Males are completely black or shades of dark blue. Males have a horn that grows out of their heads. They also have high ridges on the pronotum (shoulder plate). Females lack both horns and high ridges. Larvae, like all beetles, are grubs: plump, white-ish wormy creatures with segments that curl into a c-shape.
Scientific Name: Phanaeus vindex
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 22mm (0.39in to 0.86in)
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.
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.