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Rainbow Scarab Beetle (Phanaeus vindex)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Rainbow Scarab Beetle.

 Updated: 4/18/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




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.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Scarabaeidae
          Genus: Phanaeus
            Species: vindex
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Phanaeus vindex
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 22mm (0.39in to 0.86in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: green, red, copper, yellow, blue, black
Descriptors: colorful, harmless, metallic, shiny, flying, horn
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
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State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
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State of New Mexico graphic
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State of South Carolina graphic
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State of Tennessee graphic
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State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
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State of Wisconsin graphic
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Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
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).
5
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
6
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
7
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.