A Guide to the Insects of the Coal Oil Point Reserve

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Last updated 08/15/2005
  Insects of Coal Oil Point > Guide > Coleoptera - Beetles > Tenebrionidae

Tenebrionidae - Darkling beetles

Withover 300 species, California is home to a great diversity of darklingbeetles. Members of this family are common everywhere, but especiallyin drier areas. Flightless 'stink beetles' in the genus Eleodesare conspicuous in a variety of habitats throughout the state. Butwhile these large, slow beetles exemplify the family in some ways, manyCalifornian darkling beetles look nothing like these.

CoalOil Point is home to at least 7 species of darkling beetles, includingseveral coastal specialists. The small, ladybird-like Phaleria rotundata is found only in sandy coastal areas, as are Epantius obscurus and two species in the genus Coelus. One of these, the Globose Dune beetle (Coelus globosus) has become rare throughout its range, and is a state 'species of concern'. The two species of Coelus are difficult to tell apart, but C. globosusis usually slightly larger, and has the 'clypeus' (a part of the headabove the mouth) more deeply cut-out, as shown in the picture below. Thedune beetles leave a distinct track on the beach that resembles alabyrinth. Their footprints cannot be seen on the track because thebeetle walks below the sand, leaving a collapsed tunnel behind.

Tenebrionid Photos
(click to enlarge)

Coelus ciliatus

clypeus, C. ciliatus

clypeus, C. globosus

Phaleria rotundata

Epantius obscurus

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