Subject: Black Ground Beetle?
Location: Victoria, Australia
January 9, 2014 6:44 am
I found this black beetle flying against my window tonight (a warm summer’s night, around 20 degrees C), and am unsure what it is. It looks like a member of Scarites, but I didn’t think they lived in Australia, and I couldn’t find anything about their ability to fly (this was capable of flying roughly two metres off the ground and maintaining that height for several seconds). If it helps, it seemed to be attracted to light.
Thank you in advance for your time.
We are very intrigued with your request. Your information is very thorough and your photo is excellent. The research you have done already is commendable. First, this is a Ground Beetle, and it is black, but it is most definitely NOT the Black Ground Beetle pictured on the Brisbane Insect website, which is noticeably low on examples from the family Carabidae. We actually agree that this appears to be a Big Headed Ground Beetle in the genus Scarites, and as you have indicated, it is not a genus that is native to Australia. The similarity to that genus is obvious when you compare your photo to this image on BugGuide. According to this online PDF we found from The Coleopterists’ Bulletin entitled Observations on Behavior in Scarites by Thomas F. Hlavac which was published in 1967: “The genus Scarites Fabricius contains a large number of species of large, fossorial, pedunculate beetles and is found in all geographic regions, except the Australian.” With so much global travel in the last fifty years, that may have changed and Scarites might have been introduced to Australia. This FlickR posting would support that possibility. We have not had any luck finding any information on Scarites being able to fly, but we are very curious about that possibility and we thank you for supplying that observation. Of Ground Beetles in general Squidoo observes: “Although some species can fly, they seldom do. In most species the wings have totally disappeared and the wing cases have grown together to form one strong shield.” We will continue to try to research the flying ability of Scarites.
Thank you very much for your fast response! I really appreciate the information, and love your website. Hope you continue the amazing work into futurity!