Select Beetles
Arizona's Sycamore Canyons

Water in the arid and semiarid regions of Arizona is often concentrated along narrow canyons draining from the high mountains. Diversity of habitats in these canyons is largely a function of water supplies. Flowing or stagnant water, mud and wet soil, deep sand and alluvium, and on up the slopes into thin soils with very little water - each represents a different beetle habitat. Beginning naturalists are often drawn to the passion by conspicuous butterflies, birds and flowers. But, if the naturalist finally finds beetles, he or she will be hooked for life by the endless variety and millions of life history facts waiting to be discovered.

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Hister Beetle

Hister Beetle

Rounded rectangular shape and a pair of sharply curved mandibles face forward. This one has riders! More ...

Pasimachus Ground Beetle

Fierce Beetle

Runs fast, very fast. Digs well. Super sharp mandibles. Bites to draw blood. Amazing. More ...

Caterpillar Hunter

Ground Beetle

Large, fast moving, glossy black beetle. Can pinch if mishandled or release a smelly liquid. Eats insects fallen under outdoor lighting. More ...

Bombardier Beetle

Bombardier Beetle

Fast moving black and fire orange. Found beneath rocks near flowing water. More ...

Tiger Beetle

Long running legs, big alert eyes, fast folding wings, and a pair of deadly mandibles. Sandy areas near water. More ...

 © by Mike Plagens

Tiger Beetle

Active and agile predators; large eyes and long legs. Flies about and lands/runs near damp sandy soil. Bright metalic blues, greens or browns. Several species. More info

Eleodes Beetle

Pinacate Beetle

Large, slow moving and well armoured. Lifts tip of abdomen in air if disturbed and release bad odor. More ...


Pinacate #2

There are several similar-looking Eleodes beetles but all are slow-moving and black. More ...

reticulated darkling beetle

Darkling Beetle

Tough little tanks that amble along ground. About 10 mm long. More ...

Ox Beetle

Ox Beetle

Large, lumbering beetles, brown to nearly black. A couple of species, some males with horns. This may be the female of the insect at right. More ...

rhinoceros beetle

Rhinoceros Beetle

Amazing insect! Males have three forward horns. Both females and males are very large and heavy. More ...

 © by Mike Plagens

Grant's Hercules Beetle

Stupendous beetle - the males have a pair of stout, forward-projecting horns. Large beetles come to lights. Likely only in the highest elevations of the Sonoran Desert. More info

Scarab in Jade

Beyer's Scarab

Large, pale green beetle with purple legs. Emerges at night after summer rains in Sky Islands canyons. More ...

Plusiotus lecontei

Leconte's Chrysina

Bronze and jade jewel scarab from upper canyons in Rim Country. Emerges with monsoon rains. More ...

chafer beetle

Chafer Beetle

Solidly built, medium large beetles. Many kinds with wide variety of color patterns. More ...

Fuller Rose Beetle

Fuller Rose Beetle

Rusty brown beetle with a distinct snout. The very hard exoskeleton has coarse, fabric-like texture. More ...

Agave Weevil

Agave Weevil

Football shaped and very hard-shelled. Found in and on century plants. More ...

Curculio acorn nut weevil

Acorn Nut Weevil

The snout is drawn out into a very long slender apparatus for drilling into acorns or walnuts. More ...

Pachybrachis Beetle


When viewed from above only the front of head is visible. Small insects on flowers or new leaves. More ...

Basalis group Cryptocephalus


Small but very colorful beetles on flowers or new growth leaves, esp. oaks. More ...

Agave Bug

Morning-Glory Tortoise

Orange-red beetle spotted with black and with a turtle-like shell. Feeds on morning glory leaves. More ...

Green Potato Beetle

Green Potato Beetle

Convex with hard, jade-green elytra. Mostly on plants in the Solanaceae. More ...

Lepturobosca chrysocoma

Burro Brush Beetle

Strongly convex with stripes of tan and jade. Stays on or near burro brush, Hymenoclea. More ...Also occurs in upland Sonoran Desert

Flower Cerambyidae

Flower Longhorn

Many kinds of colorful cerambycids. Long antennae, first wings hardened and concealing flight wings. More ...

Lepturobosca chrysocoma

Golden Flower Longhorn

Elongate elyra and pronotum clothed in golden hairs. Often seen on composite flowers. More ...

Cactus Longhorn Beetle

Cactus Longhorn

Robust beetles with very hard exo-skeleton. Long sturdy antennae. Almost always on cactus plants. More ...

Agrilus metalic wood-boring beetle

Jewel Beetle

Good-sized, metallic emerald green with distinct grooves on elytra. In higher, doug fir zone. More ...

Flower Buprestid, Acmaeodera

Flower Buprestid

Glossy and brightly colored beetles sit on flowers. Many kinds with yellow, red or green markings on black. More ...

Acmaeodera disjuncta

Flower Buprestid

Red and black spots on glossy black Buprestidae. More ...

Jewel beetle with red spots

Flower Buprestid

This one, sitting on a yellow composite head, has spots of red at the ends of the elytra. More ...

Acmaeodera decipiens

Red-marked Flower Buprestid

Mostly black marked with white and red. Visits composite flower heads especially in late summer. More ...

Flower Buprestid, Acmaeodera

Flower Buprestid #2

Glossy beetle marked with mustard yellow and black. Sits on flowers. Many kinds with yellow, red or green markings on black. More ...

Acmaeodera cazieri

Flower Buprestid #3

Agile beetles found on blooms of various kinds. This one drabber than most. More ...

Acmaeodera decipiens

Flower Buprestid #5

Glossy black marked with yellow. Pronotum bronzy. Sits on composite flower heads especially in late summer. More ...

Agrilus metalic wood-boring beetle

Hackberry Twig Borer

Metalic brown with pale markings. Small, less than 5mm. On Celtis from dead twigs. More ...

soldier beetle

Lewis' Soldier

The elytra are soft and colorful. Frequent on flowers eating the pollen. More ...

Soldier Beetle

This large, beautiful species is found after the summer rains in canyons of southern Arizona. Commonly on flowers. More ...

Chauliognathus lecontei

Leconte's Soldier

Red and black pattern shared by several unrelated beetles and other arthropods. More ...

Net-winged Beetle

Net-winged Beetle

The elytra are brightly colored, leathery in texture, and with intricate pattern of raised veins. More ...

Epicauta segmenta

Black Blister Beetle

All satin black except for a white band on thorax. Clumsy moving and with soft wing covers. More ...

Collops Beetle

The elytra (shell wings) are soft, leathery. Orange and red marked against dark blue-gray. Common on flowers. More ...

Click Beetle

Click Beetle

Elongated beetles with usu. tapered posterior and sharp corners to pronotum. "Clicks" to right self when positioned on back. More ...

Arizona Naturalist
Sycamore Canyons


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 5 September 2014
updated 8 Aug. 2018.