Jump to content
davehuth

Geotrupes sp. in captivity?

Recommended Posts

Hello, Beetle Brain Trust – Recently I've been attracting really cool looking Earth-Boring Scarabs to lights in the forest near my home (Western NY state). Are these interesting and easy enough to keep (for a beginner?)? They are close to an inch long and seem energetic when they're out and about so I was wondering if anyone has any tips or experience to share. (Also I guess if anyone would like me to collect any for you I always love to trade). Thanks!

IMG_2315-1.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know much about Geotrupidae, but I've occasionally found blue, gold or black species of Geotrupes in my local area.  As with other beetle families, there are some considerably larger, even more impressive ones in the tropics, such as Enoplotrupes sharpi (Thailand) -  


31964453407_3c4e1d9a4e_b.jpg


original.jpg?1545658663

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If what you are interested in is breeding (reproduction), then you will need to feed animal feces or your own works fine too. (I'm serious! :D). If not, just keep them on substrate, spray water lightly, and nothing much can be done. They feed on animal feces, and I believe they lay eggs under piles of animal feces, as some other dung beetles do. (not a brood ball).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Goliathus said:

I've occasionally found blue, gold or black species of Geotrupes in my local area. 

!!!! I’m constantly amazed by the diversity of your local taxa. Those iridescent Geotrupes are blowing my mind. 

14 hours ago, JKim said:

They feed on animal feces, and I believe they lay eggs under piles of animal feces,

I’ve been trying and trying to resist bringing feces into my bug room (I like being married to my patient spouse!) but these cool scarabs are testing my resolve. I also don’t have a reliable source, other than deer scat and the occasional horse ridden past my driveway  

Im curious about the necessary “quality” of scat. If I use manure that’s dried and aged for a bit (to reduce the ripe odor of fresh stuff), would that contain sufficient nutrition for these beetles and their larvae?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Davehuth,

I have worked with a similar species here (Louisiana). If you use cow or horse dung it really doesn't smell for very long (dry dung would not work well). You could also try banana slices if you can't manage dung - but just for keeping adults alive, they will not lay eggs on banana. When I was working on the dung beetle book, I kept large plastic breeding totes in a spare bathroom and never noticed the smell in any other room.

I DO NOT suggest using human or dog. Both work great for collecting in the field but would not be pleasant to work with in captivity. I could make a list of reasons why you shouldn't use these but you can probably already figure out most of the list.

If you are looking to breed them, you would need rather deep substrate (just dirt is fine in this case), Place dung on the surface and replace when it is gone.

Of the geotrupids that use dung for egg laying (like the species in your photo; many other geotrupids do not use dung) - they are paracoprids (tunnelers), not endocoprids as JKim suggested.

Yours might be Geotrupes blackburnii, or a closely relates species.


Good Luck!
Steven

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Imagine using dog or human feces just to breed a beetle... reminds me of people keeping leeches and letting them feed on their arms etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not a geotrupid, but I've always thought it might be quite worthwhile to try breeding the giant metallic blue phanaeine Coprophanaeus (=Megaphanaeus) lancifer from South America, if an opportunity ever turned up for some hobbyist to do so.  It's one of the largest dung beetles (the size of a golf ball) found in the Americas, and interestingly, instead of feeding on dung like most other Phanaeini, they're carrion eaters.  They're incredibly strong for their size, and I've heard that a pair of these beetles can actually bury a pig carcass, over a period of several days!  Another unusual characteristic is that both sexes have horns.

coprophanaeus_lancifer_thl_3868_.jpg

119016.jpg

033_rc.jpg

f04f76474d6f28c64ef99208def37de9.jpg

fab95a27dedae448d568d17265b0deab.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/18/2019 at 10:43 AM, Ratmosphere said:

Really an amazing looking species!

Oxysternon is another beautifully colored genus of Neotropical dung beetles.  They're closely related to Phanaeus.  Some photos -  

7d3c9d0a0c246640a7eafc166ac9257e.jpg

130740039.ke4cMbq9.jpg

20149618801_14b92bec03_b.jpg

15558240442_3c2b5a828d_b.jpg

28419291208_598ae83b4d_b.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×