Subject: Found In Mulch
Location: Eastern Virginia
March 27, 2013 7:32 pm
I found this guy in the pile of mulch I was overturning in Norfolk, VA. He was about the size of my thumb, and I’m not a very big person.
This is a Bess Beetle, Odontotaenius disjunctus. The Bess Beetle is also called “Bess Bug, Betsy Beetle or Bug, Patent Leather Beetle, Peg Beetle” according to BugGuide. Bess Beetles are found in rotting logs and they are rather unique among beetles as they care for their young. Here is the life style description from BugGuide: “Lifestyle of this family is unique for beetles: live in small colonies where larvae are cared for by adults of both sexes. Long life cycle, apparently more than one year. Larvae eat a rotting wood pre-chewed by adults. (Some references state larvae eat feces of adults as well.) Larvae and adults also cannibalize injured larvae.”
Thank you very much! More requests to follow as I continue to explore the local area.