Ontholestes cingulatus    




habitat
Woodland area but also open field. Adults and larvae are found on carrion, dung and decaying organic material (Arnett and Thomas, 2000).

seasonality
More abundant in early spring but active throughout summer and fall.

identification
The head and thorax of the O. cingulatus larvae are dark brown-red and the abdomen is dirty-brown color (Voris, 1939). The mature larvae can reach 25mm long and 4mm wide. The adult size range is between 13-18 mm but can reach up to 21mm. The brown body of O.cingulatus is irregularly marked with spots of heavy dark pubescence (Downie and Arnett, 1996). The tip of the abdomen is densely covered with golden-yellowish pubescence which also covers the metasternum (Downie and Arnett, 1996). Like for the other species of the genus Ontholestes, the anterior angles of the prontum are extended and angular, quite pointed (Smetana and Davies, 2000). Most of the leg is reddish-brown with the femora darker and the apex and the lateral edge usually lighter but variable (Smetana and Davies, 2000). The tarsal formula is 5-5-5. The dark red antennae have 11 segments with the last obliquely notched.

life history
Two or three days before pupation, the larva forms a nest-like cavity in a substrate like dung or soil, encloses itself in it and pupates (Voris, 1939). The pupal period varies between 10 to 14 days (Voris, 1939). Males of the species O. cingulatus were shown to exhibit an adaptive mate-guarding behavior. The male O. cingulatus stays close to the female after copulation while she oviposits to avoid fertilization from other males (Alcock, 1991). If threatened, O.cingulatus will bring the tip of its abdomen in contact with the threat and release a chemical defense.

conservation
Abundant.

diet info
A predator of flies associated with dung and carrion but also attracted to other decaying organic matter such as fungi, fruits and vegetables.

range
Widespread and common in eastern and northwestern North America.

people
species page authorBourassa, S.2004 

quick link
http://entomology.museums.ualberta.ca/searching_species_details.php?s=5436

 

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