Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Big-Headed Ground Beetle



This scary looking little ground beetle was crawling in the mulch in one of my flower beds. I believe it to be the Big-Headed Ground Beetle (Scarites subterraneus), although it has not been positively identified. I think it should be called "Scary-Pincher Ground Beetle" Just look at those mandibles! This beetle was approximately one inch long, and completely shiny black. The elytra were grooved and it had this impossibly thin "Waist."It is this waist that gives this beetles its other common name of Punduculate Ground Beetle. A peduncle is a narrow area connecting two wider areas, in the case of this beetle it refers to the tiny waist connecting the eyltra to the pronotum. These are crazy-looking beetles. They are a fairly common beetle and are nocturnal. They will be found at lights at night where they prey on other insects. With those jaws I am guessing very little gets away from them. It is even reported that they will feed on the remains of their own kind in a form of cannibalism. Look for them in yards, gardens, open fields and farms, where they will be hiding under stones, or in leaf litter. They occur in almost all regions of the United States with exception to the Pacific Northwest. A unique habit of these beetles is to stiffen its body and play dead when being disturbed, which is exactly what this particular beetle did, although I refused to pick it up. I wasn't brave enough to find out if it bites or not. I've been bit, pinched, stung and had formic acid sprayed on me, all unintentionally. I wasn't about to tempt the fates and purposely do something to get me bit!

8 comments:

  1. Wow. Never seen them in the wild before. They sure look like they can deliver a bite!

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  2. I bet you have these beetles and don't know it. Look at night on the ground near pole lights, or lift up rocks or search in the mulch in flower beds. They are very common. They are about an inch in length. I am too afraid to pick one up and find out if it bites. Big jaws=Big bite as far as I am concerned.

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    1. Yeah, one of my buds on YouTube had a video of one biting him.

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  3. Theye do bite but their head cant swerve to your fingers, grab them by the abdomen and you'll be fine

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  4. Thanks Immanuel, if I get brave enough to hold one, I will keep in mind where to grab it

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  5. Thanks for the info. Woke up this morning to find one of these guys in my be pinching me in the back. My room is very clean too!

    Didn't hurt too bad at all... just picked him up an threw him outside

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  6. These things are crazy looking!!!!! I have a bunch of them at my house. Every night they are in the garage and trust me, you can easily catch one out of the corner of your eye. They ar HUGE! I have no idea if they are good or bad, but I don't like them in my house! I have no idea what happens if one of my children or pets get bit by one of them! My dogs get curious about them and I believe they have eaten a few. Oh how I hate that crunch! Ick!!!

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  7. I chatch plenty of them a day and year
    very strong. bite

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