Texas Beetle Information

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Blue Phanaeus

Phanaeus adonis Harold, 1863

Family Scarabaeidae, Subfamily Scarabaeinae, Tribe Coprini

First U.S. Record

Blue Phanaeus - Phanaeus adonis Harold, 1863

First U.S. Record was an minor male, label reads:

TEXAS: Cameron Co.
15 mi. E Rio Hondo
C. Cate & M. Quinn-76
swine feces pit-fall

In same pit-fall trap as first P. adonis was one Malagoniella astyanax yucateca (Harold)

Unit tray of Scarabs curated in the Texas A&M University Insect Collection

U.S. Range: Only Recorded from coastal Cameron County, Texas

Mexico Range

Mid- to high-elevation open forests of the Sierra Madre Oriental from Nuevo Leon south to Hidalgo, and the eastern Mesa Central, Mexico. 350-2100 m. (Edmonds, 1994)

Adult Activity: June-October.

Biology: Coprophagous. 

Similar Species

Nearly half of the recognized species of Phanaeus are recorded from Mexico. Six species occur in northern Mexico and the eastern United States, extending as far north as Arizona in the west and Vermont in the east. (Arnett, et.al. 2002).

Texas Taxa:

Phanaeus adonis Harold 
Phanaeus difformis
Phanaeus triangularis texensis
Phanaeus triangularis triangularis
Phanaeus vindex


Dung Beetles - TAMU
Phanaeus difformis - Rosamond Gifford Zoo 
Dung Beetles of Central and Eastern North Carolina Cattle Pastures - North Carolina State University
Dung beetle benefits in pasture ecosystems - National Sustainable Agricultural Information Service

Etymology: Phanaeus adonis

phan (G). Show, appear
adonis - Patronym for Adonis - Wikipedia


Arnett, R.H., Jr., M.C. Thomas, P.E. Skelley & J.H. Frank. (editors). 2002. American Beetles, Volume II: Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea. CRC Press. 861 pp.

Blume, R.R. & A. Aga. 1976. Phanaeus difformis LeConte (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae): clarification of published descriptions, notes on biology, and distribution in Texas. The Coleopterists Bulletin, 30(2): 199-205.

Edmonds, W.D. 1994. Revision of Phanaeus Macleay, a New World genus of Scarabaeine dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae, Scarabaeinae). Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Contributions in Science 443: 1-105.

Fincher, G.T. 1972. Notes on the biology of Phanaeus vindex (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Journal of the Georgia Entomological Society, 7:128-133.

Fincher, G.T., R.R. Blume, J.S. Hunter III, & K.R. Beerwinkle. 1986. Seasonal distribution and diel flight activity of dung feeding scarabs in open and woodland pasture in East-Central Texas. Southwestern Entomologist - Supplement 10: 1-35.

Halffter, G., V. Halffter, & I. Lopez. 1974. Phanaeus behavior: Food transportation and bisexual cooperation. Environmental. Entomology, 3: 341–345.

Hanski, I. & Y. Cambefort (editors). 1991. Dung Beetle Ecology. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 481 pp.

Harold, E. 1863. Beiträge zur Kenntniss einiger coprophagen Lamellicornien. (Fünftes Stück). Berliner Entomologische Zeitschrift 7: 327-389.

Knutson, A. 2000. Dung beetles-Biological control agents of horn flies. Texas Biological Control News. Winter. Texas Agricultural Extension Service. The Texas A&M University System.

Rasmussen, J.L. 1992. Reproductive Behavior and Ecology of the Horned Rainbow Scarab Beetle Phanaeus difformis (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.

Richardson, P.Q. & R.H. Richardson. 2000. Dung beetles improve the soil community (Texas/Oklahoma). Ecological Restoration, 18(2): 116-117.

Riley, E.G. & C.S. Wolfe. 2003. An annotated checklist of the Scarabaeoidea of Texas. Southwestern Entomologist, Supplement, no. 26. 37 pp.

09 Oct 2009  © Mike Quinn / entomike@gmail.com / Texas Entomology / Texas Beetles / Texas Beetle Photos /