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Pleasing Fungus Beetle (Gibbifer californicus)

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

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Image Credit: Michelle L., taken in Jemez, NM
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The high altitudes are the home of this Pleasing Fungus Beetle where undisturbed rotting wood loaded with fungus supplies a tasty buffet.

Updated: 01/05/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
This species of Pleasing Fungus beetle is found in the mountains of select western states. The higher elevation sustains a different ecosystem compared to lower altitudes, and this insect takes advantage of the rotting wood found on the mountainsides. Its steely gray elytra (wing coverings) are speckled with black dimples much like the small depressions seen on golf balls. Its head, pronotum, and legs are black.

As its name suggests, the Pleasing Fungus Beetle enjoys fungus as a food source. It is often spotted walking around, on, or under rotted logs, tree trunks, and branches. A female even lays her fertilized eggs on fungus. When larvae hatch, they stay on that fungus and eat it. Larvae look very different from adults. They are more worm-like with spiky fringe around the edges of their black and white tubular bodies. They molt several times leaving behind exoskeleton 'skins'. When ready to pupate, they hang onto the last 'skin'. Look for these discarded remnants under logs or branches where adults are seen; they tend to stay relatively close to offspring and younger beetles despite being in different life stages.

This beetle is most active in the summer and can be found in forests, along creeks and streams, or in wooded canyons, especially in areas with moisture, which is helpful for fungal growth.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Erotylidae
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          Genus: Gibbifer
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            Species: californicus

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Gibbifer californicus
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 12mm to 20mm (0.47" to 0.78")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: gray; black; blue; purple
Descriptors: spotted; polka dot; steel; elevation; mountains; flying

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 12mm (0.5in) and 20mm (0.8in)
Lo: 12mm
Md: 16mm
Hi: 20mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Pleasing Fungus 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 Pleasing Fungus Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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