Bess Beetle

Subject: stag beetle like with single forehead protrusion
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, central piedmont of Chapel Hill
March 17, 2016 11:46 am
Found this guy yesterday walking on some moss in a damp, shady area, about midday. 1 1/2 inches long, with a single hose-bib like protrusion on its forehead. It was slow and not aggressive. I have posted a short video of it at, in case you would like to see it move.
If I could get a genus, that’d be enough to keep me happy. I’ve got it down to scarabaeoidea, but can’t tell beyond that. I think it might be a stag beetle.
Thanks for doing this!
Signature: Jessica

Bess Beetle
Bess Beetle

Dear Jessica,
Though it resembles a Stag Beetle, this Bess Beetle, Peg Beetle or Patent Leather Beetle in the family Passalidae  is a social beetle with a family structure in which both parents care for and communicate audibly with the grubs.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults reported to fly very seldom, however they are capable of flight, contrary to statements in some sources. Adults are found at lights on occasion. They may disperse by walking, but have been observed flying under lights (image), and they are sometimes taken in light traps (MacGown and MacGown, 1996). A nuptial flight has been observed in Mississippi, with a group of 12-15 individuals flying at dusk, and one pair even mating in flight (MacGown and MacGown, 1996).”

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