Scarab Beetle

carrizo plain beetle
Hi, I was visiting the Carrizo Plain east of Atascadero yesterday. About 5:30 pm these beetles started to get active. they seem to like to eat flowers. This flower is Thistle sage. I was at the plain a couple of years ago and right on schedule, the fiddle neck flowers were suddenly alive with hungry beetles munching flowers. The beetle is about 1/2 inch long or a bit more. Quite handsome I think. The notable thing I see, which may be distinctive, is a hairy fringe bordering the outer wings. Well, that’s how it looks, but probably the fringe is part of the inner wings. Without disturbing it, it was hard to tell. I don’t collect insects anymore since the dermistids got ahead of me at some point. It’s “catch, observe, release” now. Thanks for your great site. I used it last summer to ID the long horned alder borers I found crawling on a -you guessed it- freshly painted wall. I couldn’t resist poking them to see if they would hiss. Yes. Just like the Eucalyptus long horned borers do! Let me know when you find out. thanks
Sylva B. Los Angeles, CA

Hi Sylva,
This Scarab Beetle is Paracotalpa ursina and we cannot locate a common name. Interestingly, there is a photo posted to BugGuide of the species from 2006 and it is also in Carrizo Plains and it is also on thistle sage. Also of interest to us is that our friend and neighbor Clare Marter-Kenyon just mentioned seeing Thistle Sage for the first time.

Hi Daniel,
thanks. I am your neighbor, as I live on North Avenue 51, near Oxy.. I know Clare. It’s always fun to learn a new plant. I’ll send you a couple of photos of thistle sage from a 2 years ago, on the plain. Beautiful. Also, I have a photo for the bug love category. Thanks again for such quick response. Knowing the species, thanks to you, I found out that the beetle emerges from holes in the ground. Probably always in the evening when temp & wind die down. Type specimin at Harvard looks like it is covered with golden fur!!!
Sylva B

Leave a Comment