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maculated dung beetle

(Aphodius distinctus)

Conservation Status
maculated dung beetle
Photo by Bill Reynolds
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Maculated dung beetle 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.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: to ¼

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Pastures

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

March to May and August to October

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

 

 
     
 

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.

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

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

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Dung of mammals, especially cattle.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 29, 30.

 
  7/16/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common and widespread

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Coleoptera (beetles)  
 

Suborder

Polyphaga (water, rove, scarab, long-horned, 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  
       
 

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.

 
       
 

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 or leathery 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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S.

 
  flew/fell down the back of my dress while sitting/lounging on our 3rd floor balcony.   maculated dung beetle  
           
        maculated dung beetle  
 

Bill Reynolds

 
    maculated dung beetle   maculated dung beetle  
           
 
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  Dung beetle evacuation
Morten DD Hansen
 
   
 
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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Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this insect.

 
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  S.
7/15/2020

Location: Valley View & Mitchell Rd, Eden Prairie, MN

flew/fell down the back of my dress while sitting/lounging on our 3rd floor balcony.

maculated dung beetle  
  Emily Broderson
5/25/2020

Location: Scrub Oak Trail.  Crow Wing County.

Scrub Oak Trail
Minnesota
https://maps.app.goo.gl/VoYUrV9gac8SBH226

 
  Zach
7/3/2019

Location: North Central St. Louis County, Minnesota

Found these beetles in and around dog poop while cleaning up to mow lawn. Did not know at the time that we have them in Minnesota.

 
  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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