Patent-leather Beetle

Odontotaenius disjunctus

Drees, Texas A&M University Department of Entomology

The Patent-leather Beetle is a large beetle which can grow to just over an inch-and-a-half long. They are shiny black and have many long grooves on their elytra (outer wings).

They have a small horn between their eyes, and clubbed attenae (means they have little knobs on them).

Patent-leather Beetles are usually found under, or inside, old logs or stumps. They eat old decaying wood.

These beetles make tunnels in the wood, called "galleries."

Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida. Photographer: James L. Castner

Copyright, Randy Emmitt, www.rlephoto.com

Copyright, John C. Abbot

Inside the galleries, the beetles will mate, lay eggs, and raise their young.

Larvae hatch from the eggs; they look like white grubs. The adults feed the larvae a chewed-up mixture of wood chips and feces (poop). The larvae cannot feed themselves.

Patent-leather Beetle larvae take a year to develop. When the larvae are ready, they become pupae (like coccoons). Adults hatch from the pupa.

Many Paten-leather Beetles may live together in a colony in the same log. Adults can live over a year.

Adult Patent-leather Beetles can make a sound by rubbing their wings on their abdomen. They may do this to communicate danger to other beetles.

Patent-leather beetles like to eat logs of certain trees. Mostly they eat deciduous trees (ones where the leaves fall off in the fall), such as oaks and elm.

Copyright, Dr. John A. Haarstad

Additional Media

Description
Type
Credit
Patent-leather Beetle's Head Under a Microscope
Link to Image
Uglybug.org

Relationships in Nature:

FOOD
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Black Oak

Pileated Woodpecker

Bracken Fern

Eastern Worm Snake Mu

American Elm

Wood Frog

Poison Ivy

White Oak

Least Shrew

Virginia Creeper

Southern Red Oak

Wild Turkey

Yellow Poplar

Five-lined Skink

American Beech

American Toad

Mockernut Hickory

Big Brown Bat

Sweetgum

Common Black Ground Beetle

Virginia Opossum

Brown-headed Cowbird

Northern Ringneck Snake

Eastern Mole

Spotted Salamander

Eastern Hognose Snake

Ring-legged Earwig

White-footed Mouse

Downy Woodpecker

Eastern Worm Snake

Relationship to Humans:

Patent-leather Beetles are harmless to humans. You would rarely see them, unless you were hunting around old logs. They do not bite. These beetles help us by disposing of old fallen trees and stumps.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Chordate
CLASS
Insect
ORDER
Coleoptera
FAMILY
Passalidae
GENUS
Odontotaenius
SPECIES
Odontotaenius disjunctus

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