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Funded in part by award DEB0447694 from the National Science Foundation to M. Caterino.

Last updated 01/16/2009

  California Beetle Project > Species Pages > Plecoma hirsutus


Scientific name: Pleocoma hirsutus Davis
Common name: Rain Beetle
    Order Coleoptera
    Superfamily Scarabaeoidea
    Family Pleocomidae

Images (click to enlarge)

What it looks like: 22.5-23.5 mm in length. Its body is robust and shining black. Yellow hairs protrude between the shoulders and the elytra, or wing coverings. Long yellow-brown hairs line the edges of the elytra and cover its long, dark brown legs. Its antennae are distinctly clubbed. There is a V-shaped scoop on the front of the head that is used for digging through soil.

Where you'll find it: This species is found in the Transverse Ranges of southern California.

Natural History: These beetles emerge and mate during the rainy season. Males will fly in a variety of weather conditions, including rainstorms, to find the flightless females, who crawl up from their underground burrows to emit pheromones and wait for partners. Larvae hatch deep in the burrows and use their powerful legs to dig through the soil and find plant roots. Unlike most scarab beetles, rain beetles can take up to thirteen years before reaching maturity. As adults, males will typically only live a few days, while females can live up to several months.

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