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by Jacki
(Grand Forks, B.C. Canada)


Broad Necked Darkling Beetle

There are many ground beetles, darkling beetles, undertaker beetles and so on. They perform an important role in the garden; existing on carrion, carcases of other insects and many other food sources, they are the janitors of the insect world. You’ll often see them scurrying for cover if you move a brick or piece of wood, as they prefer to be sheltered during the day. Most are nocturnal.

Undertaker beetles are bright orange and black, and sometimes covered in mites which hitch a ride to the scene of the accident to feast on the carcases of dead mice or birds. They appear out of nowhere to clean up the remains.

Broad necked darkling beetles are one of the biggest beetles; with their black carapace and odd habit of raising their rumps in the air when disturbed, they emit a strong smelling gas to deter predators. These are the typical ‘Alexander Beetle’ of Winnie the Pooh fame – if you have a child, or ever were one, you’ll know the story of Alexander Beetle in the matchbox. Not much is known about their life cycle, but it’s thought that they survive on organic matter and fungus.