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  • Rainbow Scarab Beetle - (Phanaeus vindex)

    Rainbow Scarab Beetle - (Phanaeus vindex)

    The female Rainbow Scarab Beetle is a delight to the eyes with her many metallic colors.

    Picture of Rainbow Scarab Beetle
    Staff Writer (4/18/2017): 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.

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    Details of the:
    Rainbow Scarab Beetle

    Category: Beetle
    Common name: Rainbow Scarab Beetle
    Scientific Name: Phanaeus vindex

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Coleoptera
          Family: Scarabaeidae
           Genus: Phanaeus
            Species: vindex

    Size (Adult, Length): 10mm to 22mm (0.39in to 0.87in)

    Identifying Colors: green, red, copper, yellow, blue, black

    Additional Descriptors: colorful, harmless, metallic, shiny, flying, horn

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin

    * 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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