What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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Except for the introduced Geotrupes spiniger (Geotrupinae), all Australian species belong to the Bolboceratinae. Adults are often attracted to lights at night; they lay their eggs in deep burrows in the soil and provide the larvae with food which may include hypogean fungi, decaying organic matter or dung. Carne (1965) observed Elephastomus meraldus in the A.C.T. burying large quantities of cattle dung in its oviposition burrows, but dung feeding is not known in other bolboceratines. G. spiniger , on the other hand, uses dung for larval provisioning and was introduced into Australia for the control of cattle dung. Bolboceratine larvae have all legs more or less reduced without a distinct claw and lack the stridulatory organs and complexly lobed anal region characteristic of G. spiniger . [H. F. Howden 1979, 1985; Howden and Cooper 1977; Howden and Peck 1987.]


Stout, very strongly convex beetles, yellowish to reddish brown, or rarely black, with prognathous head and usually with conspicuous cephalic and pronotal horns in male; antennal club relatively small and oval with closely appressed lamellae. Geotrupid larvae differ from those of other scarabaeoids in having a very lightly sclerotised head capsule and 3-segmented antennae.

  • Blackburnium sp.

  • Geotrupes spiniger

  • Australobolbus sp.