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Rainbow Scarab Beetle

Phanaeus vindex MacLachlan


Common Name: Dung beetle Scientific Name: Phanaeus vindex MacLachlan Order: Coleoptera Description: Males and female beetles are between ½ and 1 inch long and overall metallic blue-green and copper. The front of the head is flattened and golden bronze. The male has a long, curved horn extending from the front of the head (clypeus) while the slightly larger female has a tubercle. The front legs are modified for digging. There are a number of dung beetles or "tumblebugs" in the subfamily Scarabaeinae (Canthon, Copris, Deltochilum and Dichotomus and other genera) that are important in recycling animal feces. Some are small, dark dung-feeding scarab species (e.g., Ataenius and Aphodius species). One species, Onthophagus gazella Fabricius, was introduced by USDA scientists in the 1970's and is now common throughout the state. In parts of Texas, they remove 80 percent of the cattle droppings. Most species are dull to shiny black and 1-3/8 inch or less in length with wing covers (elytra) that may have ridges (striae). They are often attracted to lights at night. These beetles are related to the sacred scarab of ancient Egypt, Scarabaeus sacer Linnaeus.


Mouthparts are for chewing. Larvae feed on animal excrement buried by the adults. These beetles are rarely encountered unless an effort is made to examine fresh potential larval habitats! Animal excrement is rich in insect fauna and can yield these strikingly beautiful beetles. Beetles can be washed to remove debris.

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42 Comments (1–25)

RickBohler 10 years ago

ha ha ha.........Have fun with that :)

RickBohler 10 years ago

Oh and thanks for the compliment :)

RickBohler 10 years ago

I get to see one or two a year. If you smear fresh and hot dog poo in the grass on a breezy summer day you may see one fly in. I know that is just NASTY, but it works.

Andreas Kay
Andreas Kay 10 years ago

Fascinating creature!

Billo-kun 10 years ago

Beautiful! <3

KarenL 11 years ago

Fun fact! It’s estimated that dung beetles save the United States cattle industry $380 million annually by repurposing livestock waste. The amazing recycling ability of dung beetles has even been proposed as a way to help curb global warming.

DST 11 years ago


NeilDazet 11 years ago

Excellent stuff Rick!

RickBohler 11 years ago

Thanks for all the compliments everyone :)
project noah ROCKS because of members like you!

MayraSpringmann 11 years ago

Wow!!!! Wonderful picture!!! Congratulation!

Anne Marie McCaffrey
Anne Marie McCaffrey 11 years ago

That is a fabulous beetle!

MayraSpringmann 11 years ago

Wow! Gorgeous!

RickBohler 12 years ago

W O W !!...... thanks for the recognition! This made my day. Thank you everyone for the wonderful compliments. :)

rutasandinas 12 years ago

Wow un amigo futurista

Sachin Zaveri
Sachin Zaveri 12 years ago

wonderful spotting,

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 12 years ago

This is one handsome guy ! great spotting and congratulations !!.
I read somewhere that females fight each other for access to fresh dung to lay their eggs - maybe they should be the ones to have the horns instead of the tubercles !!!
This is a great picture and thanks for sharing it ..

Ashish Nimkar
Ashish Nimkar 12 years ago

Nice spotting..

Harsha Singh
Harsha Singh 12 years ago


Gerardo Aizpuru
Gerardo Aizpuru 12 years ago

Amazing shot and Beetle!
Congratulations Rick

Yasser 12 years ago

Congratulations Rick! This beauty was chosen as Spotting of the Day!

"The Rainbow Scarab Beetle is a North American dung beetle. This species, along with other dung beetles, plays an important role in nature: reducing fecal material in nature and thereby reducing the number of disease spreading flies."

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KatCuff 12 years ago


Latimeria 12 years ago

This is a beetle I'm planning on finding this spring--I've gotta see this color for myself.

Gerardo Aizpuru
Gerardo Aizpuru 12 years ago

Incredible wonderful photos

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 12 years ago

You're welcome :-)

RickBohler 12 years ago

Thanks for the compliments:) S Frazier, Thanks for the compliment and the heads-up :)

Spotted by

Jacksonville, Florida, United States

Spotted on Nov 1, 2010
Submitted on Dec 3, 2011

Spotted for Mission

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