Rainbow Scarab

Photo of a rainbow scarab beetle, male.
Scientific Name
Phanaeus vindex
Scarabaeidae (scarab beetles) in the order Coleoptera (beetles)

Although most dung beetles are dull black, the rainbow scarab is a living jewel of bright metallic green and copper. They are large (about ¾ inch long), stocky, and strong. Males have a backward-pointing horn on the top of the head. Unlike many other dung beetles, this species buries its dung ball beneath the mass of poop, instead of rolling it away from the pile. It has distinctive orange antennae with leaflike plates that can be pressed together or fanned apart, and a single spur just above the "foot" of the hind legs. The forelegs are strong and well-clawed, perfect for digging.

Learn more about the rainbow scarab and other dung beetles in their group entry.

Length: ½–¾ inch.
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About Land Invertebrates in Missouri
Invertebrates are animals without backbones, including earthworms, slugs, snails, and arthropods. Arthropods—invertebrates with “jointed legs” — are a group of invertebrates that includes crayfish, shrimp, millipedes, centipedes, mites, spiders, and insects. There may be as many as 10 million species of insects alive on earth today, and they probably constitute more than 90 percent all animal species.