Oniticellus militaris

Beneficial

Common name(s)

yellow shouldered dung beetle

Taxonomy

Family: Scarabaeidae Subfamily: Scarabaeinae Genus: Oniticellus Species: Oniticellus militaris (Laporte [Comte de Castelnau], 1840)

Adult diagnosis

Total body length 7.0–11.0 cm (0.27–0.43 in). Body oblong oval, somewhat dorsoventrally compressed; may be caked in dung. Color dark brown; pronotum bordered with tan; elytra with longitudinal tan stripes (some broken). Head of male with short horn, female with distinct transverse ridge near base. Pronotum with weak longitudinal median line; anterior margin with excisions paired at middle, excision reduced in female. Front tibia of female slightly more robust than in male.

Larval diagnosis

Undescribed. For Oniticellus spp. (Ritcher, 1966): Grub C-shaped, with projecting hump, cylindrical, whitish. Maxilla with galea and lacinia distinctly separated. Epipharynx with tormae united mesally, anterior phoba present. Antennae with 4 segments; distal segment of antenna much reduced in size. Legs 2-segmented. Prothoracic shield without anteriorly projecting processes. Third abdominal segment without a prominent, conical, dorsal gibbosity. Venter of last abdominal segment with 2 patches of short, spine-like setae.

Native range

Africa. This species is native to eastern Africa, ranging from Ethiopia southward to South Africa. It has been introduced to Australia (Tyndale-Biscoe, 1990).

Plant host(s)

None. Oniticellus spp. feed on dung as both adults and larvae.

Life history

(Tyndale-Biscoe, 1990): This diurnal species is a dung tunneler, with females constructing a burrow 0–15 cm (0–5.9 in) beneath a dung source. The burrow is stocked with dung to form a brood ball in which one egg is laid. The larva develops within its brood ball and will remain within the burrow until emerging as an adult.

Pest potential

None. This species recycles dung and is beneficial for ranching and farming in Hawaii. Being a 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 are known from Hawaii or Guam.

Status in Hawaii

Established. This species was intentionally released in 1957-1958 on Big Island and Oahu (Markin and Yoshioka, 1998). It is also found on Kauai and Maui (Nishida, 2002), although it is unclear when the beetle arrived to those islands.

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.

Similar species

Oniticellus militaris is one of two Oniticellus species known from Hawaii, the other being Oniticellus cinctus. The two scarabs are separated by examining the head armature (the male of O. militaris possesses a short horn and the female has a distinct transverse ridge versus O. cinctus that lacks horns or distinct ridges in both sexes), color of the pronotum (O. militaris possesses a dark brown pronotum bordered in tan, whereas O. cinctus has a shiny black pronotum), and pronotal form (O. militaris has anterior margin with paired excisions versus O. cinctus with anterior margin smooth, without excisions).

Other names (synonyms)

Liatongus militaris Laporte (Comte de Castelau), Oniticellus quadrituberculatus Lansberge

Report your observation

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

Oniticellus militaris female; photo by E.L. Engasser

Oniticellus militaris female; photo by E.L. Engasser

Oniticellus militaris female; photo by E.L. Engasser

Oniticellus militaris female; photo by E.L. Engasser

Oniticellus militaris male; photo by E.L. Engasser

Oniticellus militaris male; photo by E.L. Engasser

Oniticellus militaris male; photo by E.L. Engasser

Oniticellus militaris male; photo by E.L. Engasser

Oniticellus militaris female; photo by E.L. Engasser

Oniticellus militaris female; photo by E.L. Engasser

Oniticellus militaris female; photo by E.L. Engasser

Oniticellus militaris female; photo by E.L. Engasser

distribution map for Oniticellus militaris

distribution map for Oniticellus militaris