Even some specialist coleopterists, when they hear the name “trictenotomids”, don’t quite know what to say: “Who?+ Is that a fact?!” Some might take them for a variety of longhorn beetle, or stag beetle. There are only a few people around with a “personal” knowledge of these interesting representatives of the order of Coleoptera. The family of trictenotomids is a classic example of a small family with a distinct and restricted area of distribution. There are currently just 14 recent representatives of this family known to science. As yet, no fossil species of trictenotomids have been discovered. All the contemporary species have been encountered in the Oriental zoogeographical region, and only a few of them have distribution areas that extend into the South-Eastern Palaearctic.
Oak Jewel Beetle(Eurythyrea quercus) male. Length: 16 mm. Dead insect prepared for the occasion of this image.
These beetles are at least as beautiful in flight as in “normal” walking position. The dissimilar colours of the abdomen appear only when they open the elytrae. Obviously it is a rare sight, you should be lucky to observe such a beautiful phenomenon. I wanted to reproduce the flying pose showing the amazing abdominal tergums.
Coprophanaeus lancifer (Linné, 1767) male (by urjsa on Flickr)
The horned dung beetle(Coprophanaeus lancifer) is the largest dung beetle species in the Neotropics, growing to more than 2 inches long and weighing more than 6 grams. Its massive thorax is packed with muscle, making this beetle incredibly strong. These animals clean up the forest by feeding on dead animals — and they are capable of burying large mammals such as pigs and deer! This species is also highly unusual in that both males and females possess long horns on the head, which are used as weapons against each other during ferocious battles.