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Geotrupes blackburnii ? with phoretic mites


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This little guy apparently landed on my shirt last night when I took out the trash. My husband saw him clinging on when I came back inside. It goes to show that sometimes the bugs find you!


Upon closer inspection, I noticed a couple of odd things. First, I think he has a mild case of phoretic mites, but I'm certainly no mite expert so I could be wrong. Second, for some reason, this specimen is missing both of his front tarsi. I can understand one being lost, but both?


From what I can tell, I believe he may be Geotrupes blackburnii. I am located in central Alabama, by the way.


Let me know what you guys think!




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Mites are very common on wild caught dung beetles and carrion/burying beetles. I'd call that a very mild case, actually. What it interesting is the color of the mites. I usually see much paler ones on the beetles I find. I'm not familiar with your species, but a lot of insects have reduced/shorter segments before the tarsi, particularly it seems if they are burrowing species. Sometimes they are quite flexible and bend back during digging or feeding. Yours does appear to have missing tarsi though, possibly from the wear and tear of burying so much good stuff. Farmers love a dung beetle!


(I edited the title per your suggestion.)

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The mites in the pics "mite" be Gamasid mites (pun intended. lol)

They are beneficial mites that feed on other tiny organisms including nematodes.

They commonly hijack on beetles for transportation purpose. Smart, aren't they?

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