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Darkling Beetle (Edrotes ventricosus)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Darkling Beetle

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Image Credit: J.B. from Fallon, NV
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This small, hairy desert-dweller walks along the sand looking for tufts of saltgrass and other hardy desert plants to eat.

Updated: 10/13/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
At home in the Southwest, this Darkling Beetle is tiny and fuzzy. The hairs may help deter predators from eating it, and its size makes it a smaller target. The beetle feeds on Russian thistle, wild onions, and salt grass growing in the arid environment. They are most active in spring, coming out of overwintering, and then again in late autumn as they prepare for the next winter. Occasionally on warm winter days, they may venture out from their shelter.

Look for this species walking along the ground, keeping in mind that the beetle never gets much bigger than a pinky fingernail. The spray of hairs on its back may give it a bit more presence, but a keen eye may be needed to see one, especially if it isn?t moving.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Hairy insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Tenebrionidae
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          Genus: Edrotes
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            Species: ventricosus
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Edrotes ventricosus
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 10mm (0.23" to 0.39")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black
Descriptors: hairy; small; fuzzy; desert; furry; crawling

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 6mm (0.2in) and 10mm (0.4in)
Lo: 6mm
Md: 8mm
Hi: 10mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Darkling Beetle may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Darkling Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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