Bess or scarab beetle?
Me again – your site is too good a resource not to use and to help with local images if I can! Attached are three images of a type of beetle that’s been roaming our backyard this summer. (We also found a few that had been hollowed out by something parasitic.) It emits a hissing sort of squeak from it,s abdomen when disturbed, picked up or poked by the cat, but it does not spray. Our initial thought was that it was the adult form of the mealworms we (try to) feed our gecko – but doubtful. Trawling through insect books narrowed it down to either a Passalid (Bess) beetle, Scarab or a Christmas beetle. I was leaning towards the Passalid identification until I came across (on Beetle page 4) one you identified as a Scarab! Can you confirm which is the correct identification?
Jennifer in Australia
This is a Scarab, but Christmas Beetles are also Scarabs. That common name arises from the appearance of the beetles at Christmas, early summer for you. In the U.S. many Scarabs are commonly called May Beetles or June Bugs because of their arrival time. Sorry we can’t pinpoint the species for you.