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Phloeodes plicatus is very similar to the diabolical ironclad beetles. They are close relatives of darkling beetles, but are in the completely separate Ironclad family (Zopherinae). These are charcoal black and measure about 1/2 to 3/4 inches. These are very cryptic looking beetles with rough and chunky, asphalt-like texture. Their pronotums extend out in almost heart-shaped flanges aside their heads. Recesses below the pronotum provide hiding places for their antennae when they go into death-feigning mode (faking death). When disturbed they often exhibit a tripod like stance that is opposite the normal darkling “head-stander” behavior. These beetles sit on their haunches and extend their front legs like little bulldogs.
We feed these bits of carrot and dried pet food, though they may also be nibbling at the oak wood/flake soil we offer them. Not sure! See photos of this species Bugguide.Net.
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