Gold and Brown Rove Beetle – Ontholestes cingulatus

Gold and Brown Rove Beetle – Ontholestes cingulatus
Family Staphylinidae – Rove Beetles
Beetles Main | Beetles Index | Longhorns | Leaf Beetles | Soldier | Blister | Lady | Scarab

Live adult beetle photographed in the wild at Ogle County, Illinois. Size: 19mm
Gold and Brown Rove Beetle
This beetle has a fearsome set of mandibles [embiggen image]

I found a couple of specimens of this beautiful rove beetle at White Pines Forest State Park near Oregon, Illinois. I had never seen one before and it was quite a thrill to have one pose for pictures, on a flower no less; quite unusual for an adult beetle which normally dines on maggots and other beetle larvae.

It's difficult to describe the bioluminescent-like the iridescent coloration of the last three abdominal segments, and similar alternating bands of golden-yellow hair underneath the abdomen and thorax. The yellow color seems to turn itself on or off depending upon from what angle it's viewed. And how otherwise cryptic its camouflage; ideal for tree bark or leaf litter alike. This is one of our largest rove beetles at 19mm.

Gold and Brown Rove Beetle lateral view
This awesome beetle is a strong flyer, with a very loud, buzz

ing flight

Rove beetle eggs are deposited on carrion or fungi, and larvae compete with fly maggots for those food resources. Adult rove beetles use their large mandibles to dine on fly maggots, mites, and other beetles'  larvae.

Rove Beetle Dorsal View
 They burst into flight so suddenly I have not been able to see the wings.

1. K.K. Kinney, F.B. Peairs and A.M. Swinker, Rove Beetles in Forage Crops, CSU no. 5.524
Order Coleoptera: Beetles are the dominant form of life on earth: one of every five living species is a beetle. Coleoptera is the largest order in the animal kingdom, containing a third of all insect species. There are about 400,000 known species worldwide, ~30,000 of which live in North America.  Beetles live in nearly every habitat, and for every kind of food, there's probably a beetle species that eats it.
Beetles Index | Longhorns | Leaf Beetles | Soldier | Blister | Lady | Scarab