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The family Scarabaeidae as currently defined consists of over 30,000 species of beetles worldwide, often called scarabs or scarab beetles. The classification of this family has undergone significant change in recent years. Several subfamilies have been elevated to family rank (e.g., Pleocomidae, Glaresidae, Glaphyridae, Ochodaeidae, and Geotrupidae), and some reduced to lower ranks. The subfamilies listed in this article are in accordance with those in Bouchard (2011).[1]

Scarab beetle
Reitter-1908 table74.jpg
Central European scarab beetles
with some anatomical details. Edmund Reitter's Fauna Germanica, 1908
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Euarthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Superfamily: Scarabaeoidea
Family: Scarabaeidae
Latreille, 1802
Subfamilies[1]

Contents

DescriptionEdit

 
Sacred scarab in a cartouche of Thutmosis III from Karnak temple of Amun-Ra, Egypt

Scarabs are stout-bodied beetles, many with bright metallic colours, measuring between 1.5 and 160 mm. They have distinctive, clubbed antennae composed of plates called lamellae that can be compressed into a ball or fanned out like leaves to sense odours. The front legs of many species are broad and adapted for digging. In some groups males (and sometimes females) have prominent horns on the head and/or pronotum to fight over mates or resources.[2]

 
A scarab beetle grub from Australia.

The C-shaped larvae, called grubs, are pale yellow or white. Most adult beetles are nocturnal, although the flower chafers (Cetoniinae) and many leaf chafers (Rutelinae) are active during the day. The grubs mostly live underground or under debris, so are not exposed to sunlight. Many scarabs are scavengers that recycle dung, carrion, or decaying plant material.[3] Others, such as the Japanese beetle, are plant-eaters.

Some of the well-known beetles from the Scarabaeidae are Japanese beetles, dung beetles, June beetles, rose chafers (Australian, European, and North American), rhinoceros beetles, Hercules beetles and Goliath beetles.

Several members of this family have structurally coloured shells which act as left-handed circular polarisers; this was the first-discovered example of circular polarization in nature.[4]

Ancient EgyptEdit

In Ancient Egypt, the dung beetle now known as Scarabaeus sacer (formerly Ateuchus sacer) was revered as sacred. Egyptian amulets representing the sacred scarab beetles were traded throughout the Mediterranean world.[2]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Bouchard, Patrice; Bousquet, Yves; Davies, Anthony E.; Alonso-Zarazaga, Miguel A.; et al. (2011). "Family-group names in Coleoptera (Insecta)". Zookeys. Pensoft Publishers. 88 (88). doi:10.3897/zookeys.88.807. ISSN 1313-2989.
  2. ^ a b bugguide.net Family Scarabaeidae - Scarab Beetles
  3. ^ Marcos Paulo Gomes Gonçalves (2017). "Relação Entre Tempo e Besouros em Mata de Cocal" [Relationship Between Meteorological Conditions and Beetles in Mata de Cocal] (in Portuguese). doi:10.1590/0102-7786324003.
  4. ^ A. A. Michelson (1911). "On metallic colourings in birds and insects". Philosophical Magazine. 21: 554–567. doi:10.1080/14786440408637061.

Further readingEdit

  • RU Ehlers. Current and Future Use of Nematodes in Biocontrol: Practice and Commercial Aspects with Regard to Regulatory Policy Issues. Biocontrol Science and Technology Volume 6, Issue 3, 1996.

External linksEdit