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Earth-boring Scarab Beetle (Bolbocerasoma sp.)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Earth-boring Scarab Beetle



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Image Credit: Dale G. from Hope, AR
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Image Credit: Jimmy J. from KY
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Earth-boring Scarab Beetles are important environmental cleaners and take nutrients through a critical part of the cycle.



Updated: 09/25/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Round and domed Earth-boring Scarabs are small, tank-like beetles with disc-shaped orange extensions on their antennae. The head is black, but the rest of the body is orange and black. Thick black bands mark the top, sides and center of the elytra (wing coverings), while a black patch near the head is studded with horn-like bumps. Orange and black legs are covered in short, fine hairs.

As their name suggests, Earth-boring Scarab Beetles dig into the ground, sometimes up to 2-3 meters (6-9 feet) deep. An egg is laid at the end of each long tunnel and food is left there for the growing grub. Larval food sources include fungi, dung, compost and decaying plant material. Once hatched, the beetle grub will eat its food stash, crawl its way up the tunnel to the surface, and pupate into its winged adult form.

Adults also eat dung, hummus and rotting plant matter. They are commonly found in compost heaps and on (or in) manure piles. While the Earth-boring Scarab Beetle's diet seems somewhat unsavory to people, the consumption of the material's nutrients helps valuable resources to return to the food web. It provides a natural way to recycle and reuse minerals and vitamins quickly.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Rounded insect body icon
Spiny / Spiky insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Geotrupidae
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          Genus: Bolbocerasoma
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            Species: sp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Bolbocerasoma sp.
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 14mm (0.39" to 0.55")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: orange, black
Descriptors: flying, dome, round, horn, mummy
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 10mm and 14mm
Lo: 10mm
Md: 12mm
Hi: 14mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
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Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Earth-boring Scarab 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 Earth-boring Scarab Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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