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Secret California Beetle Database

This week I wanted to continue my research on the Dung Beetles (Subfamily Scarabaeinae) of California. I was adamant about finding a list of known dung beetle species of California because I was unaware of any in the state less than a month ago. The article I cited in last week's blog mentioned several native dung beetles in California, and it piqued my interest. I searched heavily through databases, peer-reviewed articles, iNaturalist observations, and websites for a resource to identify the number of species of a certain sub-family of California beetles.

I was shocked that it was more difficult to find than expected. I finally came across the website for The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and it was exactly what I was looking for. It had a full list of known beetle species in the state, observations, pictures, and the website even listed if the species had been introduced (non-native) into California (Figure 1). Although it is a great database for California's known beetles, it has stopped being updated as of 2014. The updated information now lives on a page run by Dr. Gimmel, Curator and Schlinger Chair of Entomology of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Fig. 1. The picture shows the dung beetle Canthon simplex. Photo by Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Entomology Collection. Specimen collected and determined by M. Caterino in 2006.

I greatly appreciate these resources because they provide newcomers of entomology a free resource that would normally cost us money that we often don't have. Although the website is wonderful, I can't help but think that it could have been continued on the main page with automatic updating to pull new observations from iNaturalist. Below is a list of native and introduced species of Dung Beetles to California. Thank you for following along with this week's blog! Subscribe and like my blogs to let me know how I might improve.

California Dung Beetles

Canthon simplex – Native

Liatongus californicus – Native

Onitis alexis – Introduced

Euoniticellus intermedius – Introduced

Digitonthophagus (formerly Onthophagus) gazella – Introduced

Onthophagus cartwrighti – Native

Onthophagus velutinus – Native

Onthophagus taurus – Introduced

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