Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Splendid Earth Boring Beetle
This gorgeous little beetle gave me a surprise while out mushroom hunting last night. My husband and I located a spot with some huge mushrooms, just as I found two right together and announced I'd found some, I noticed something bizarre about one of the mushrooms. It stood about 5 inches tall and approximately 2 inches of the mushroom was missing and something was moving inside the hole. Then this little beetle peeked out. I managed to get a couple of pictures of it. At first I thought it was a Rainbow Scarab beetle but have since found out it is the Splendid Earth Boring Beetle (Geotrupes splendidus). Sometimes they are referred to as dung beetles from their habit of living near cow lots and building underground tunnels right under the piles of dung. They supply these nests with dung and the female will lay eggs on individual piles of poo. The eggs hatch and the young grubs feed on the poo. YUM! Even though this sounds completely gross, it serves a great purpose. They clean up a ton of crap, and what is left over that the young grubs do not eat is left behind to fertilize the soil and plants. You will also find these beetles in timbered areas feeding on decaying vegetation and fungi (like my little friend here), they will even be found eating carrion. They can vary in color from green, blue, bronze, purple to black; but always with a metallic sheen that shimmers in the sunlight. It just goes to show you never know what you will find while mushroom hunting, but I could sure do without the poison ivy!!!!