Black ground beetle, I think?
Location: Washington, DC
May 5, 2011 9:00 pm
My friend just found this beetle, thinks it’s cute, and wants to know what to feed it. I’m guessing it’s a ground beetle, so mealworms, maybe?
not a ground beetle. Camera angle not ideal, but might be a scarab or closely related beetle
Thanks for the quick reply! I actually checked your site’s beetle pics and I think now that it looks most like a patent-leather beetle.
That makes perfect sense. We will hunt through our unposted letters and prepare your letter to go live. We are thrilled that you were able to find a possible identity on our site. We can’t say for certain until we do some research if this is or is not a Patent Leather Beetle, also known as a Bess Beetle. The ridges of the elytra or wing covers is consistent with those of the Patent Leather Beetle and the rear legs do seem to resemble this image from BugGuide which is a detail of the rear leg of a Horned Passalus, Odontotaenius disjunctus, AKA a Patent Leather Beetle. BugGuide notes: “Unusual (for beetles) subsocial lifestyle. 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.” Patent Leather Beetles feed upon rotting wood.
Update: June 20, 2011
We have just received a comment identifying this Scarab as Phileurus valgus.