Horned Fungus Beetle

Bolitotherus cornutus

Copyright, Robert Vigneault

The Horned Fungus Beetle grows to about half an inch long. It is dark brown or black, and very rough.

Males and females are easy to tell apart. Males have two long "horns" projecting from their heads, with one shorter, forked horn in the middle, down near the mouth.

Female Horned Fungus Beetles have no horns. She does have small bumps on her head.

These beetles are found in the woods. They eat mostly fungus, but they also eat dead and dying tree trunks.

After mating, the female Horned Fungus Beetle lays eggs inside, or on top of, fungus. The eggs hatch into larvae which eat the fungus. They then become pupae (resting stage) inside the fungus or in the soil near the fungus. Adults hatch from the pupae in the summer.

These beetles use many different fungi, especially polypore fungi, such as Mossy Maple Polypore and Crowded Parchment.

If disturbed, Horned Fungus Beetles will play dead and stay motionless, trying to resemble rotted wood.

They also release a foul-smelling chemical if they feel the warm breath of a mammal.

Horned Fungus Beetles help fungi by carrying spores to new places. Mushroom spores are like the seeds of a plant. When a beetle climbs around the gills of a mushroom, spores stick to its body. Later the spores can grow into new fungi in a new place.

Relationships in Nature:

FOOD
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Mossy Maple Polypore

Pileated Woodpecker

Mossy Maple Polypore

Death Cap D

Crowded Parchment

Downy Woodpecker

Crowded Parchment

Crowded Parchment D

Oyster Mushroom

Least Shrew

Oyster Mushroom

Oyster Mushroom D

Elegant Stinkhorn

Wild Turkey

Elegant Stinkhorn

Mossy Maple Polypore D

Honey Mushroom

Five-lined Skink

Virginia Creeper

Elegant Stinkhorn D

Turkey Tail

American Toad

Poison Ivy

Honey Mushroom D

Jack O'Lantern

Red-backed Salamander

Honey Mushroom

Turkey Tail D

Meadow Mushroom

Rabid Wolf Spider

Bracken Fern

Jack O'Lantern D

Pear-shaped Puffball

Goldenrod Spider

Red Clover

Meadow Mushroom D

Death Cap

Common Black Ground Beetle

Turkey Tail

Artist's Conk D

Mossy Maple Polypore

Daring Jumping Spider

Meadow Mushroom

Artist's Conk

Garden Centipede

Pear-shaped Puffball

Spring Peeper

Death Cap

Ring-legged Earwig

Mossy Maple Polypore

Three-lined Salamander

Japanese Honeysuckle

Six-spotted Tiger Beetle

Artist's Conk

Wild Strawberry

Common Greenshield

Relationship to Humans:

Horned Fungus Beetles help people by helping to break down old, rotted wood. Even though they eat fungi, which are also helping break down old wood, they don't appear to do it much harm. If handled, they may let out a bad-smelling chemical.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Arthropod
CLASS
Insect
ORDER
Coleoptera
FAMILY
Tenebrionidae
GENUS
Boliotherus
SPECIES
Boliotherus cornutus

QUICK LINKS

Organism Menu
Home
Glossary
Student Activities
Relationships
Classification Info
How to Use This Site
Bibliography