Trilobite Beetle: The Prehistoric-Looking Bug

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Looks like it comes out straight from a sci-fi movie, the trilobite beetle is not something you see every day. This beetle got its name from the appearance resemblance to the extinct marine arthropod though they are not related. There are quite a few fascinating things about this beetle species, and we shall find out more below.

1Appearance

What you are looking at is the larvae form of the beetle, and females retain this form when they mature. As for adult males, they look just like other beetles with long winged bodies and a pair of thick antennae. Male trilobite beetles can fly while females don’t since they don’t possess any wings. Adult males are smaller than females since they are only around 0.8 to 0.9 centimeters. A female trilobite beetle is around 4 to 8 centimeters long, and it has a dark flattened body.

There are large scales over its head that look similar to trilobites, one of the earliest known arthropod groups. The resemblance of the appearance is how these beetles got the name though they are not related to each other at all. Female trilobite beetles have armor-plated carapace that provides protection while the long spiky abdomen gives an intimidating look. One of the most interesting parts is that these females have the ability to retract their tiny heads inside the armor. Despite their appearance, trilobite beetles are not dangerous to humans at all.

2Behavior

When it comes to behavior, their mating life is definitely the most bizarre yet interesting about them. Male trilobite beetles have long curvy genitalia, and females have a gonopore, a genital pore in hexapods, insects, and invertebrates. During mating, the male attaches his genitalia to the female’s gonopore, and they remain conjoined for 5 hours. After that, the male will live for 3 hours before dropping dead.

For the female, she will lay a sticky mass of around 200 unfertilized eggs on the surface of the wood. Then the eggs will be placed in humid patches of leaf litter before the females drop dead as well. The lifespan of a trilobite beetle is only around one year, they will die once they complete their life purpose, reproduction. The thing is that not all mating events result in successful fertilization. If the fertilization is not proper, there won’t be any eggs hatched.

3Feeding & Habitats

Trilobite beetles live in tropical forests and rainforests of India and Southeast Asia where they feed on fungi and slime mold. They spend most of their time around leaf litter and rotting logs to feed and hide from potential predators. Juices from rotting wood are also one of the meals that they consume as well. These beetles thrive in the damp and humid environment of the forest floor that creates an ideal setting for them. These microhabitats also serve as a rich source of food for them as well.

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