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Desert Ironclad Beetle

Asbolus verrucosus

 
Desert Ironclad Beetle, Asbolus verrucosus, photo © by Mike Plagens

Found at Hidden Valley, South Mountain in Phoenix, Maricopa Co., Arizona 13 August 2010. Actual size is about 20 mm.

Tenebrionidae -- Darkling Beetle Family

The exoskeleton of these beetles is indeed extreemly tough. Hikers often find the ancient, empty shells of these beetles many years after the insect has died. Hobbiests have reported keeping these insects alive in captivitiy for 10 years. They find on a wide range of materials such as fruit, dead leaves and dead insects. The immature stage is a grub that lives in the soil presumably feeding upon decayed plant material.

Ironclad beetles resemble Pinacate Beetles -- Eleodes spp. but do not release noxious odor and do not do the head stands.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2010