Scarabaeidae Scarab Beetles

In some tropical regions where human and animal excrement are abundant in the vicinity of dwellings, scarab beetles living in the dung are sometimes accidentally ingested by young children. These beedes appear in the newly passed stools of children and may disperse from the excrement in a noisy fashion that has been described in Sri Lanka as beetle marasmus ("kurumini mandama"). Although some of these beetles may infest the fecal matter as it is passed or after it reaches the ground, it is quite likely, as local physicians claim, that the scarab beedes (e.g. Coprisspp., Fig. 6.8) pass through the alimentary tract and remain alive, causing little or no discomfort to the children. Evidence for such durability among the scarabs comes from cases in which frogs, horses, and cattle have ingested scarabs, which then worked their way through the stomach wall and remained alive until the hosts were killed. In Asia and Africa, humans sometimes become infested with dung beetles (Onthophagus and Caccobius spp.) when these scarabs enter the anus and live within the rectum, causing physical discomfort and damage to the mucosa.

Large numbers of the adult scarab beetles Cyclocephala borealis and Autoserica castanea invaded the ears of 186 boy scouts sleeping on the ground at a jamboree in Pennsylvania in 1957. The beetles caused pain and some slight bleeding as a result of the tearing action of their tibial spines. After the beeties were removed, there were very few cases of secondary infection (Mattuck and Fehn 1958).


Lady beedes, also called ladybird beetles, have been cited most often as causing prickling or slight stinging sensations, followed by the formation of mild erythematous lesions. These beetles may nip at the skin; however, given their small size, it is more likely that their defensive secretions cause the discomfort. The alkaloid secretions produced by reflex bleeding from the legs and around the

Large Cabinet Beetle
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