Canthon viridis

Beneficial

Common name(s)

tumblebug

Taxonomy

Family: Scarabaeidae Subfamily: Scarabaeinae Genus: Canthon Species: Canthon viridis (Beauvois, 1805)

Adult diagnosis

Total body length 2.0–4.0 mm (0.08–0.16 in). Body shape round (dorsal view); may be caked in dried dung. Color metallic shining green, sometimes metallic coppery red. Eyes crescent shaped, longer than wide. Clypeus bidentate; surface smooth. Pronotum and elytra smooth, lacking coarse granular texture. Front tibia with apical spur bifurcate in male and spine-like in female (spur may be worn down in older individuals). Middle and hind legs elongate. Pygidium width less than twice the height.

Larval diagnosis

(Blume, 1981): Grub C-shaped, hump-backed, cylindrical, whitish. Anal slit transverse. Chaetoparia with 4–5 setae. Maxillary stridulatory area with 8–10 teeth. Prothoracic shield without anterior projecting, angular process on each side. Legs each with a single long, terminal seta surrounded by 5–6 short setae; 2-segmented; without stridulatory structures; claws absent. Venter of last abdominal segment with single, broad, caudal, median lobe; median lobe with 2 inconspicuous patches of very short setae.

Native range

Eastern North America. This species is widespread across much of eastern North America, occupying nearly all of the area east of the Rocky Mountains and south of the boreal forest (Woodruff, 1973).

Plant host(s)

None. This species feeds on dung as both an adult and larva (Woodruff, 1973).

Life history

(Blume, 1981): In Texas, adults of this species are active April through June. Adults are dung rollers, laying an egg within an ovate-shaped piece of dung. The formed dung is rolled away from the fecal pile before being buried in soil 3–6 cm (1.1–2.5 in) below the surface. Larvae emerge from eggs 24–36 hours after being laid, and the larva feeds upon the dung. An average of five days is spent in the combined first and second instars, with the final instar lasting 9–10 days. The pupal stage lasts an average of 3 days. Canthon viridis is diurnal and is largely confined to woodland areas where it has been recorded feeding on the dung of rabbits, humans, swine, cattle, and birds (Ratcliffe and Paulsen, 2008).

Pest potential

None. This species recycles dung and is beneficial for ranching and farming in Hawaii. As an obligate dung feeder, this species poses no threat to crop or ornamental plants. Additionally, this species is not a threat to native dung beetles because none occur in Hawaii or Guam.

Status in Hawaii

Not established. This species was intentionally released in 1954 at Parker Ranch on Big Island (Weber, 1955). Similar dung beetle introductions were undertaken to help control populations of the horn fly (Haematobia irritans), a biting pest of livestock (Markin and Yoshioka, 1998). Despite this effort, Canthon viridis failed to establish populations in the state (Nishida, 2002).

Status in Guam

Not established or recorded. There are no records of this species from Guam.

Potential distribution and dispersal pathway

In Hawaii, this species was intentionally released but it did not establish.

Similar species

This scarab is one of four Canthon species recorded from Hawaii (none are known from Guam). It is distinguished from the other Canthon species recorded in Hawaii by examination of the pronotal texture (texture smooth in C. viridis versus coarsely granulate in C. pilularius), color (shining green or red in C. viridis versus dark blue-black in C. humectus, dark metallic green in C. indigaceus, velvety black to green in C. pilularius), size (2.0–4.0 mm [0.08–0.16 in] in C. viridis versus from 8.0-17.0 mm [0.31-0.67 in] in the other Canthon species), and pygidium shape (pygidium width less than twice the height in C. viridis versus width more than twice the height in C. humectus).

Other names (synonyms)

Ateuchus obsoletus Say, Canthon metallicus Sturm, Canthon viride Beauvois, Canthon viridulus Dejean, Copris viridis Beauvois, Glaphyrocanthon viridis (Beauvois), Onthophagus viridicatus Say

Report your observation

Report your observation of this beneficial species at our iNaturalist project.

Canthon viridisfemale; photo by E.L. Engasser

Canthon viridisfemale; photo by E.L. Engasser

Canthon viridis female; photo by E.L. Engasser

Canthon viridis female; photo by E.L. Engasser

Canthon viridis male, color morph; photo by E.L. Engasser

Canthon viridis male, color morph; photo by E.L. Engasser

Canthon viridis male foretibia; photo by E.L. Engasser

Canthon viridis male foretibia; photo by E.L. Engasser

Canthon viridis female foretibia; photo by E.L. Engasser

Canthon viridis female foretibia; photo by E.L. Engasser