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Introduction

Coprophanaeus lancifer is one of the largest scarab dung beetles in the western hemisphere, reaching a length of up to 5cm.It is an incredibly bulky and strong insect that is adorned with a striking metallic blue or purple sheen (very rarely green). This beetle is so strong that it is quite impossible to hold a live specimen in your hand.The species is widespread in the Amazon basin where it prefers to feed on vertebrate carrion rather than dung, which is eaten by most dung beetles.Both the males and females of this species bear a horn on the head, which they use in territorial fights over burrows with other beetles. The beetles dig their burrows underneath animal carcasses, and this is where the immature stages of the beetle develop.Other adaptations to this mode of life include:
  • very strong legs lined with teeth that help the beetle to dig burrows into the ground, and
  • 2 sharp teeth on the clypeus (front of the head), which probably help the beetle to tear at the decomposing carrion and to form brood balls from it

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