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Transvestite Rove Beetle

Leistotrophus versicolor


I don't know whether the common name "transvestite" is generally recognised. It is fitting, however, as males are aggressively territorial and will fight off other males from the dung patches on which they hunt and mate. Smaller males usually don't stand a chance in battle and will therefore mimic females to avoid aggression and mate unnoticed by the dominant males. The beetle's camouflage helps it hunt flies on dung. It will wag the conspicuous yellow tip of its abdomen in order to distract the fly, and then grab it with its powerful jaws.


Forest in the Sierra Gorda in central Mexico.


Here's an interesting article about the female mimicry of this species:

No species ID suggestions


Felix Fleck
Felix Fleck 4 months ago

Thanks! They don't seem to be uncommon, but it was a first for me.

LaurenZarate 4 months ago

Great picture! We have the same one here in Chiapas!

Felix Fleck
Felix Fleck 6 months ago

Indeed! Cheers, Leuba.

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 6 months ago

Clever little beetle !

Felix Fleck
Felix Fleck 6 months ago

Thanks for the comment and nomination!

Christine Y.
Christine Y. 6 months ago

Awesome spotting, Felix!

AshleyT 6 months ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

Querétaro, Mexico

Lat: 21.20, Long: -99.46

Spotted on Aug 26, 2018
Submitted on Sep 1, 2018

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