Currently viewing the category: "Clown Beetles"
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Subject: Unknown stump decayer!!
Location: Wellington, CO
September 22, 2012 10:54 pm
While investing our cottonwood stump, we pulled off some of the bark and found this little fellow!! Details, 3 mm in length, 2 mm in width, 1 mm when flat against the trunk!!
I’ve been through the Bug Guide but still have not found it.
I will be out collection some for taking additional photos with a ruler to ensure measurements.
I do have additional full size photos if required.
Signature: Fish Seal

Clown Beetle

Dear Fish Seal,
The size and resolution on two of the images you submitted were so small as to be useless for identification purposes.  Thankfully you did submit one closeup image.  Our email program can accept large files which enables us to crop and to provide the highest web resolution possible for our readership.  Images that have been reduced in size prior to submission often result in inferior quality once we have posted them.  This is a Clown Beetle in the family Histeridae, and according to BugGuide, depending upon the species, their habitat includes:  “dung, carrion, decomposing fungi, under bark, in ant nests, forest litter, flood debris, treeholes, bird nests, mammal/reptile burrows, at sap flows, under wrack on beaches, and on sandy beaches.”  The closest match we were able to find on BugGuide is
Platylomalus aequalis.  BugGuide indicates that the habitat is:  “Found under bark. Dillon and Dillon(1) state that it is most common under the bark and logs of poplar and cottonwood.”  That is consistent with your sighting. 

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Beetle with babies
Location: Hudson Valley NY
November 8, 2011 3:49 pm
Found this during the freak October snowstorm. This was during a power outage so I had to light it with a flashlight, otherwise I would have had better pictures.
What is it? Have never seen one before. It was a beautiful glossy black.
Signature: Bugged in NY

Clown Beetle with Mites

Dear Bugged in NY,
Your letter probably deserves much more research than we have the time for right now, so we will be brief.  These are not baby beetles.  They are Mites, and we suspect they are phoretic Mites that are using the beetle as a means of transportation to get from one food source to another.  The beetle is a Clown Beetle in the genus
Hololepta.  You can view BugGuide for additional information on Clown Beetles.  Earlier this year, we received another image of a Clown Beetle with Phoretic Mitesand the Mites were identified as  “Neolobogynium americana (family Diplogyniidae). Adults are phoretic on Hololepta beetles.”

Clown Beetle with Phoretic Mites

 

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Flat Black Beetle and friends
Location: North East Illinois -Chicago area
July 25, 2011 6:13 pm
Hi Mr. Bugman,
I found this lovely little creature and some of his friends taking a nap with my 5 year old today. I was wondering if you could tell me what type of beetle he is and if I should have any concerns of infestation or disease. If you look at the picture closely you will see tiny little bugs (the size of a grain of sugar), one on the beetle’s back and one in the background. Are these babies or another type of bug? Upon initial examination of the beetle there were 6 or so of these little guys crawling on him. Any information or insight to what these are would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance!
Signature: concerned mom

Clown Beetle and Mite

Dear Concerned Mom,
We identified you beetle as a Clown Beetle in the genus
Hololepta on BugGuide which indicates they are found “under bark of decaying hardwoods,” and “Adults and larvae eat other insects.”  We don’t think you have to worry about your five year old, but the real mystery is how a beetle that is found in rotting wood found its way into the nursery along with some of his friends.  This image from Bugguide shows mites in association with the Clown Beetle, and the commentary indicates that Mites are frequently found with Clown Beetles.  BugGuide indicates that two species are found in the Northeast, and here is the description for differentiating between the two:  “In the northeastern U.S., and in Ontario and Quebec, the two species are H. lucida and H. aequalis. H. lucida has a long striation along the edge of each elytra. In H. aequalis this striation is abortive, starting at the base but extending only 1/4 the length of the elytra or less.

Clown Beetle

Thank you so much for the response and your time!  I appreciate the information.

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Beetle???
Hi,
Hope your still working this site. I have a bug i found in Southern Alberta Canada, could be a *”Broad-toothed Stag Beetle”.* but i dont think it is. If you can, please let me know what this very flat `beetle` might be. see attached 4 pictures. they are not that great cause of bad lighting and he wouldnot stop moving :) oh well. Thanks,
Danny

Hi Danny,
Your beetle is actually a Clown Beetle in the genus Hololepta, in the family Histeridae. You can find more photos on Bugguide.

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What’s this beetle?
I live in north central West Virginia. I found this beetle trapped in a sink. It’s very shy, pulling its legs up underneath it’s body and playing dead at any movement. Despite the camera flash reflections, the beetle is actually an extremely flat black, which is why I had trouble getting a decent exposure. Hopefully there’s enough detail for someone to make an identification. Thanks.
Douglas Locke

Hi Douglas,
This is a Clown Beetle in the Genus Hololepta. BugGuide has some great photos of this interestingly shaped predatory beetle.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination