In her appeal for submissions for her upcoming issue of An Inordinate Fondness, Susannah lamented the paucity of beetles in the closing weeks of her northern winter and mentioned in passing that even I had gone more than a week without posting about this great order. I hadn’t realized that myself, so here I present Diloboderus abderus, one of the beetles that I encountered during my visit last weekend to La Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This species, known commonly in Argentina as bicho torito (“little bull bug”) is common enough in Argentina and southern Brazil, where its white grub larvae have become somewhat of a pest in lawns, pastures, and grass crops such as wheat by way of feeding on the roots. I first encountered this species during one of my previous trips to Argentina, where during a rain storm I saw literally hundreds of adults emerging from mowed grass medians in the city streets of Pergamino. These photographs show two of numerous dead individuals that I found laying on the ground of similar medians just outside the reserve. As with many scarab beetles in the subfamily Dynastinae (containing also the recently featured Dynastes tityus), males (above) are armed with pronotal and cephalic horns – presumably for use in sexual combat – while females (below) are unarmed.
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2011