Onthophagus foliaceus

Beneficial

Common name(s)

none known

Taxonomy

Family: Scarabaeidae Subfamily: Scarabaeinae Genus: Onthophagus Species: Onthophagus foliaceus Lansberge, 1886

Adult diagnosis

Total body length 8.0–10.0 mm (0.31–0.39 in). Body shape oval; may be caked in dung. Color black; elytra dark brownish striped with tan. Small-sized Onthophagus, 6-10 mm (rarely, slightly over 10 mm). Clypeus not strongly produced or reflexed in either sex. Head of major male with single long, curved horn; minor male and female with transverse ridge near base. Ocular canthus not completely dividing eye. Pronotum with anterior angle rounded. Pronotum of major male with broad, hump-like process; minor male and female lacking distinct process. Front tibia of male slender, female tibia comparatively more robust. Scutellum absent.

Larval diagnosis

Undescribed. For Onthophagus spp. (Ritcher, 1966): Grub C-shaped, hump-backed, cylindrical, and cream-colored. Maxilla with galea and lacinia distinctly separate. Epipharynx with tormae united mesally, anterior phoba present. Antennae 4-segmented, distal segment much reduced. Legs 2-segmented. Prothoracic shield without anteriorly projecting processes. Third abdominal segment bearing a prominent conical, dorsal gibbosity covered with numerous short, stout setae.

Native range

Africa. This species is native to Africa, where it has been recorded from Angola (Lansberge, 1886).

Plant host(s)

None. This species feeds on dung as both an adult and larva. There are no records of this beetle feeding on live plant tissues.

Life history

Poorly known. Related Onthophagus species are dung tunnelers, with females creating a burrow under or near a dung source (Woodruff, 1973). The burrow is then provisioned with dung in the form of brood balls. Each ball is impregnated with an egg; larval development occurs within the brood ball.

Pest potential

None. This species recycles dung and is beneficial for ranching and farming in Hawaii. Primarily being a dung feeder, this species has never been recorded damaging crop or ornamental plants. Additionally, this scarab is not a threat to native dung beetles because none occur in Hawaii or Guam.

Status in Hawaii

Recorded, not established. In Hawaii, this species was intentionally released in 1975 at Kahua Ranch on Big Island to combat the horn fly (Haematobia irritans), a biting pest of livestock (Nakao and Funasaki, 1979).

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 imported.

Similar species

This scarab could be confused with the similarly colored, small-sized (6–10 mm) Onthophagus species: Onthophagus granulatus and Onthophagus nuchicornis.

Major males of these species can quickly be distinguished by examining the head armature (O. foliaceus with a single long curving horn versus O. granulatus lacking horns but with a recurved, produced clypeal apex, O. nuchicornis with a single small, spine-like horn).

Minor males and females are somewhat more difficult to distinguish but can be separated by examining the pronotum (O. foliaceus without a distinct process versus O. granulatus with 4 tubercle-like processes, O. nuchicornis with a rounded peg-like process).

Other names (synonyms)

Onthophaghus alterneater D'Orbigny

Report your observation

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

Onthophagus foliaceus male; photo by E.L. Engasser

Onthophagus foliaceus male; photo by E.L. Engasser

Onthophagus foliaceus male; photo by E.L. Engasser

Onthophagus foliaceus male; photo by E.L. Engasser

Onthophagus foliaceus male; photo by E.L. Engasser

Onthophagus foliaceus male; photo by E.L. Engasser

Onthophagus foliaceus male; photo by E.L. Engasser

Onthophagus foliaceus male; photo by E.L. Engasser

Onthophagus foliaceus female; photo by E.L. Engasser

Onthophagus foliaceus female; photo by E.L. Engasser

Onthophagus foliaceus female; photo by E.L. Engasser

Onthophagus foliaceus female; photo by E.L. Engasser

distribution map for Onthophagus foliaceus

distribution map for Onthophagus foliaceus