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Iron Clad Beetle (Zopherus haldemani)

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

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Image Credit: R. P.
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The extremely durable Ironclad Beetle prefers the dry heat of the Sonoran desert.

Updated: 07/06/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The exoskeleton of the Ironclad Beetle is extremely thick and hard, hence its name. It helps them retain water, a necessary ability for any creature living in a desert. The white beetle has line of black speckles that look like drops of paint running down the 'spine'. Robust legs are black. Ironclad beetles are nocturnal and will play dead if touched or disturbed. They are known to eat fungi though little else is known about their life cycle.

This beetle can be found meandering along the rocky, sandy turf of the chaparral and desert. A fellow member of this genus is considered 'living' jewelry in Mexico. They are decorated with small gems, glass beads and other ornamentation by jewelers and proudly displayed.

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


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Zopheridae
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          Genus: Zopherus
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            Species: haldemani
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Zopherus haldemani
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 26mm (0.78" to 1.02")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; white; yellow
Descriptors: speckled, flying, hard

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 20mm (0.8in) and 26mm (1.0in)
Lo: 20mm
Md: 23mm
Hi: 26mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
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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 Iron Clad 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 Iron Clad Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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