Eusattus dilatatus – dune darkling beetle (Tenebrionidae)

California, USA

Sand dunes are an unusual habitat, and the creatures found on them are equally odd. One of the more charismatic dune endemics is Eusattus dilatatus, a large darkling beetle found in southern California. This scavenging insect has long legs for digging and a waxy cuticle to prevent dessication.

Eusattus is not the easiest photographic subject. It seemed uncomfortable out in the open and would burrow as soon as I placed it on the sand. The series below spans 30 seconds.

**update** Tenebrionid expert Kojun Kanda corrects the identification from E. muricatus to E. dilatatus.

photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon 20D

f/13, 1/250 sec, ISO 100, twin flash diffused through tracing paper


  1. #1 Nimravid
    April 25, 2008

    I guess the bristles are to keep sand from gumming up the works? Do you have a closer zoom on the thorax? I’d like to see how the bristles are angled.

  2. #2 buggirl
    April 30, 2008

    That is a gorgeous beetle. On first glance it doesn’t eve look like a Tenebrionid.

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