Unknown Australian Darkling Beetle

March 20, 2010
HI Please can you tell me what type of beetle this is please, iv have only just started getting interested in
bug and insects I’m a cub scout leader so i would like to show the cubs all the pics i take and tel them
about the fly or bug thank you. The beetle was found at Joondalup lake.
many thanks
Stephanie Nolson

Unknown Darkling Beetle

Hi Stephanie,
Before we could even attempt to answer your question, we needed to research where on the planet Joondalup lake is found, and we now know that it is near Perth in Western Australia.  We thought your beetle looked like a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae, but it is shorter and stouter than most members of that family.  We found some images that are also unidentified on the Life Unseen website page of Australian Click Beetles.  We may be totally wrong, but that is our best guess at the moment.

Definitely a darkling beetle, family Tenebrionidae.  Beyond that I can’t help much, not being very familiar with the Australian fauna.  I will, however, happily accept a year or two sabbatical, expenses paid, to study the insects and arachnids there:-)

10 thoughts on “Unknown Australian Darkling Beetle”

  1. I think it is a tenebrio molitor. Although a bit stubbier, he looks a lot like some of mine that I have been breeding from the same batch for 20 years, with only the occasional addition of a few newcomer worms. I call them fat guys when they look like this. Judging by the dark colour he is quite old. Interestingly, I live in Sydney, however my beetles’ great(to the power of 20)grandparents were from Perth. I started this family when I lived there there. I brought them over Qantas more than 3000Km. And they reckon they can’t fly! Most strange luggage it was.
    Perhaps mine have this W.A. mutation in their genes which pops up quite often.
    Believe it or not they are pets and sit next to me at my computer. I love watching their year long life cycle. Good luck with your scouts and bug spotting!

    • Dear Buzzy,
      Thanks for your posting. We will provide a link to Tenebrio molitor, the Common Mealworm, to provide additional information. Though we are not certain your identification is correct, both are Darlking Beetles.

  2. Ah, if you think the ID is wrong – good point. Actually, never thought of it but now ..there’s every chance I have two types of beetles. I lived near Joondalup and they’ve always been in an open container. Maybe some interlopers joined the party for the free feed and general spoiling all those years ago.
    I’ve not noticed much difference between the mealworms though, only when the beetles mature. Do you think it’s possible for two to live together so amicably for decades? Or could they even interbreed?
    Hmm… faskinatin’ ! Thanks for answering.

  3. looks like a common fauls wire beatle otherwise known as black lawn bugs you really don’t want them in your lawn cos they eat the roots and can kill the whole lawn very quickly


Leave a Comment