We love your website! We found this beetle this morning and haven’t figured out what it is yet. My son found it under a log near his friend’s house; we live in Charlotte, North Carolina. The beetle had a lot of orange ‘fur’ on its legs and under body. It had cool antennae not really visible in the photo and very strong jaws that looked like they could give a good bite! The beetle also made a little hissing sound when interfered with. Sorry the picture is so out of focus, hoping you can help us identify this little guy. Thanks!
Your beetle is a Bess Beetle in the family Passalidae and the genus Odontotaenius. Bess Beetles are also called Patent Leather Beetles and they are rather unique in the beetle world because of their subsocial lifestyle. BugGuide indicates: “Adults and larvae live together in family groups in galleries excavated in rotting wood by adults. Adults care for larvae, and actively feed them prechewed food. Both adults and larvae stridulate, which is used for communication within the group. See Generic Guide to New World Scarab Beetles for more details.”