maculated dung beetle

(Aphodius distinctus)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

maculated dung beetle

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common and widespread

Flight/Season

March to May and August to October

Habitat

Pastures

Size

Total Length: to ¼

         
          Photo by Bill Reynolds

Identification

This small aphodine dung beetle is native to Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa. It was introduced into and is now widespread in North America.

Adults are to ¼ long. The body is stout and is elongated, more so than dung beetles (subfamily Scarabaeinae) and tumblebugs (Canthon sp.).

The head is black. It is not concealed beneath the pronotum. The antennae have 8 to 11 segments and are fan-shaped at the tip. The last three segments have long projections on one side that can be tightly closed.

The exoskeletal plate covering the thorax (pronotum) is black.

The hard forewings (elytra) are ridged longitudinally and black with highly variable yellow markings. The triangular plate between the wing bases (scutellum) is well developed.

The legs are black. The hind legs are closer to the tip of the abdomen than to the middle legs. The fourth segment (tibia) of the middle and hind legs have keel-shaped ridges. The end segment of each leg (tarsus) has 5 sections.

 
Similar
Species

 


Larval Food

Underground balls of dung of mammals, especially cattle; rotting plant material; and possibly plant roots.

 
Adult Food

Dung of mammals, especially cattle.

 
Life Cycle

Adults overwinter. They emerge from hibernation and mate in the spring. The female lays eggs in the soil or in an underground dung ball. Larvae are most abundant in June and July. The new adults emerge in August or September and hibernate in late October or November.

 
Behavior

 


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 29.


Comments

Taxonomy
Some authorities, including ITIS37, classify Chilothorax as a genus, making this species Chilothorax distinctus. Others, including NCBI34, classify it as a subgenus of the genus Aphodius, making this species Aphodius distinctus. Both names are widely used.


Taxonomy

Order:

Coleoptera (beetles)

 

Suborder:

Polyphaga (water, rove, scarab, longhorn, leaf and snout beetles)

 

Infraorder:

Scarabaeiformia

 

Superfamily:

Scarabaeoidea (scarab, stag and bess beetles)

 

Family:

Scarabaeidae (scarab beetles)

 

Subfamily:

Aphodiinae (aphodiine dung beetles)

 

Genus:

Aphodius

 

Subgenus:

Chilothorax

 
Synonyms

Aphodius anxius

Aphodius auctus

Aphodius baseolus

Aphodius centrolineatoides

Aphodius confluens

Aphodius distinctoides

Aphodius fumosus

Aphodius hemicyclus

Aphodius humeralis

Aphodius hypocoprus

Aphodius inquinatulus

Aphodius interruptus

Aphodius libyanus

Aphodius lopezromeui

Aphodius lunatus

Aphodius maculipennis

 

Aphodius nubiloides

Aphodius ophthalmicus

Aphodius pauper

Aphodius pseudonubilus

Aphodius pulcheroides

Aphodius scutellaris

Aphodius striatulus

Aphodius subcinctus

Aphodius subconfluens

Aphodius trifasciatus

Chilothorax distinctus

Scarabaeus attaminatus

Scarabaeus centrolineatus

Scarabaeus foedatus

Scarabaeus inquinatus

Scarabaeus nubilus

 
Common
Names

maculated dung beetle


 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

elytra

The hardened forewings on an insect used to protect the fragile hindwings, which are used for flying, in beetles and true bugs.

 

pronotum

The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.

 

scutellum

The exoskeletal plate covering the rearward (posterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects. In Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Homoptera, the dorsal, often triangular plate behind the pronotum and between the bases of the front wings. In Diptera, the exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and the thorax.

 

tarsus

The last two to five sections of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. Plural: tarsi.

 

tibia

The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot).

 

 

 

 

 

       

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Bill Reynolds


  maculated dung beetle   maculated dung beetle

       
       
       

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About

Published on Apr 13, 2012

Aphodius pedellus, Aphodius prodromus, Aphodius distinctus from horse and cow dung.

 
     
  EATING DUNG BEETLES
BFvsGF
 
   
 
About

Published on Mar 14, 2014

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Share your sighting of this insect.

Brook Harste
5/15/2016

Location: 5269 Heritage Hills Drive Bloomington MN 55437

I found them, dozens of them, in my back yard. My back yard is a small prairie and a pile of deer dung is where I found them.


Bill Reynolds
10/14/2014

Location: Pennington Co MN

 

maculated dung beetle


     
     
 

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