Desert Stink Beetle

Black Bug
Location: So California , LA County
April 10, 2011 8:28 pm
We were on a hiking trail and we saw a black bug.
Signature: Curious

Desert Stink Beetle

Dear Curious
This Darkling Beetle is in the large genus
Eleodes, a group commonly called the Desert Stink Beetles because they are capable of producing a foul odor to deter predators.  BugGuide indicates the common name Circus Beetle, which is a new name for us, though we have heard a common name Acrobat Beetle and we suppose the origin of those two names is a reference to the posture the beetle strikes when it is disturbed.  If the beetle senses danger, it stops walking and stands on its head, pointing the tip of the abdomen in the air while it expels the odor.  Desert Spider Beetles have fused elytra or wing covers and they are incapable of flight.  This large genus has many species, and we do not have the necessary skills to differentiate between the species.  BugGuide indicates that the genus is:  “Divided into 14 subgenera based primarily on female genitalia.”  Desert Stink Beetles are often encountered on hiking trails in the Los Angeles area.

Thank you. I used your site to identify another one we saw….it was the potatoe bug or Nina De La Tierra.

8 thoughts on “Desert Stink Beetle”

  1. I noticed the ones I have encountered here since a kid when hiking the foothills at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Central Valley California do the threatening pose but have never emitted any odor I could detect. I saw an article online mentioning there were many mimic species of these stink bugs.. I’m interested to know more about them.

  2. Also known as a Pinacate. There used to be stories about them- Pinacate & Coyote, Pinacate & the Stars, Pinacate & the Flatulent Children. ( sorry the device won’t let me say fart*ng ).
    They are so ubiquitous here in the deserts, I think they must be a “keystone species”. They are never in a hurry, and if something scares them, they usually just stand on their head and smell bad. But I never seem to get away with that haha.

  3. I live in Monterey County- My dogs are very entertained by the acrobatics of those black stink bugs but always get a full dose of their stink. It took me a while to figure out why my pups always smelled so bad in the face – it was those silly bugs. I am afraid the bugs got the worst of it.

  4. Thanks for the name John. Is that the name of the mimics or the ones that actually stink? Or are they one in the same and I’ve just been lucky not being stinked? lol My siblings and I used to call them “Beanie Bugs” when we were little I think because it looked like they were doing headstands. We thought they were funny and we “bugged” them a little but they never sprayed us so I never knew why they did that.

  5. I forgot to tell you what happened when pinacate climbed up there with that basket full of stars.
    It was an old time, real basket. A serious basket, the kind they used to make, the one that can carry something.
    But this time…


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