Ironclad Beetle

ironclad beetle
Hi there –
I found this neat beetle on my front porch at Crater Lake National Park (Oregon) house (I am a Park Ranger here), which I researched and found it belongs to the ironclad beetle group (Family Zopheridae). It is all brown and very hard. It plays dead when touched. It looks like the beetle at http://www.myrmecos.net/insects/Zopherid1.html and http://www.zin.ru/Animalia/Coleoptera/eng/incozo.htm (Great picture of what looks exactly like the beetle I have, but what is with that scientific name – Phellopsis amurensis? I cannot find that listed anywhere else? Did they change the name?) and http://tolweb.org/tree/ToLimages/Zopherid1_reduced.100a.jpg Do you know what genus and species this is?
Thanks.
Kevin

Hi Kevin,
Species is often difficult to discern from a photo, and even a specimen will cause disagreement among experts. We are not experts. According to Hogue this an Ironclad Beetle from the Family Zopheridae. Our Southern California species are in the genus Phloeodes. Audubon recognizes a very different beetle as the Ironclad Beetle, Zopherus haldemani. Audubon also calls your type of beetle a Plicate Beetle, Noserus plicatus. Hope that doesn’t further confuse the issue. Late breaking news: Eric Eaton just solved the question for us. “It is Phloeodes sp. I think there is only one now, THE ironclad beetle. They sure are neat, but you need a drill to pin them.”

Ed. Note: Just got this update.
(10/12/2005)
Ironclad Beetle (07/13/2005) The ironclad beetle in the photograph on your webiste is Phellopsis porcata (LeConte) 1853 (nice picture!!). It is easily seperated from the genera Phloeodes(10-seg. ant.) and Zopherus (9-seg. ant.). Phellopsis has 11-seg. ant. and open procoxal cavities. It inhabits old growth boreal forests of North America and Asia, and was even proposed by the USGS as a bio-indicator of Snowy Owl habitat, but they could not collect it in sufficient numbers. Cool website. Oh yeah, if the Park Ranger who collected it wants to keep it alive, they like Apples, and can live for at least a year.
Ian A. Foley
Montana Entomology Collection-MTEC
Montana State University

3 thoughts on “Ironclad Beetle”

  1. I found one of these living on a dead grand fir (nearly certain this is what it was judging by the bark and cones), at the base of Cypress mountain, just outside of Vancouver, BC, Canada.

    We’ve named him Henry, and no longer plays dead when provoked (he’s gotten used to us), and has been living in a little jar on our kitchen table for a month now. He seems to have been subsisting on the piece of bark I grabbed from the tree he was on and drops of water, but I’ve now fed him some apples! Now that I know he can live for a year, I’m excited to see how long we have our kitchen table pet 🙂

    Reply
  2. It’s now September 2012, and Henry is still alive and happy. We feed him apples and give him some water 2 or 3 times a week and he cruises around his glass at nighttime. He’s made it well past his year life expectancy!

    Reply
    • At first we were a bit taken aback since we thought Henry was the Ironclad beetle in the original posting, which would have made him over 7 years old. We now realize there are no photos of Henry on WTB? and this refers to an earlier comment.

      Reply

Leave a Comment