Kingdom Animalia:  Kingdom Animalia falls under the major clade Opisthokonta, where other kingdoms fall under as well, such as fungi, and choanoflagellates.   Some of the characteristics that classify animals as animals are that their cells are eukaryotic, meaning their cells consist of organelles and a nucleus.  They are heterotrophs as well, seeing that they rely on other organisms for food.  Lastly, they also vary from other lineages in the fact that they are multicellular as well.  One synapomorphy that both animals and choanoflagellates share is that they have posterior flagellum.  This is one feature that shows how they are relatively closely related (Campbell 2008).  To take a look at another organism that falls under kingdom Animalia, click here!Phylogenic tree courtesy of Zach Stoflet
Phylum Arthropoda: The animals that fall under the phyla Arthropoda have several characteristics that put them there.  Arthropods have an exterior skeleton made of chitin, along with segmented bodies that have bilateral symmetry.  These organisms have jointed appendages which are actually how they received their name.  One other big feature that is unique to the phylum Arthropoda, is that they have an open circulatory system as opposed to closed circulatory systems as us humans have (Campbell 2008). 

Class Insecta: Insecta is just one of the many classes that fall under the phylum Arthropoda, and a class that most are familiar with.  Some of the features that go along with being an insect are their three separate body parts, their pair of antennae, and often times their set of wings.  However, not all insects just have one set of wings, and not all insects have wings themselves either.  One other feature that makes an insect an insect is the fact that they have pairs of legs (Campbell 2008).  To take a look at another organism that falls under the Insecta class, click here!

Order Coleoptera:  The order Coleoptera is where beetles separate from the rest of their Insecta relatives.  This includes ground beetles, dung beetles, and many more.  One feature of the Coleopteran order is their mouth; their mouths are of the biting sort (Crowson 1956). 

Family Scarabaeidae:  The Scarabaeidae family includes those beetles that are most known as dung beetles.  For dung beetles, the dung that they seek not only serves as a source of food, but also contributes or plays a role in many other aspects of their lives.  Much of how these beetles reproduce, and where they live, is determined by the dung that they pursue.  This family includes numerous different genus and species of beetles that are found all around the world, occupying several different kinds of habitats.  One other feature that the family Scarabaeidae has is lamellate antennae, which have a fan like appearance (Choate 1999).Photograph courtesy of © Todd Jackson

Genus Phanaeus:  The Genus Phanaeus of dung beetles can be found in numerous habitats from southern Argentina, to southern and central United States.  One of the activities that Phanaeus is well known for is their great and efficient digging; which is important due to the fact that they spend an incredible amount of time in their tunnels.  Beetles in this genus have very bright and beautiful colors, which can actually serve a variety of applications.  Their color is also used to describe numerous different species.  The horn size of these beetles is also a characteristic used to describe these beetles (Price & May 2009).

Species Phanaeus vindex:  This name is used to describe the great amount of time spent in the tunnels that they dig.  Many species within the genus Phanaeus  are classified according to their tunneling activity.  This species of dung beetle live in numerous places of the United States and in Mexico as well (Price & May 2009).  For more on classifying this organism, click here!

   Zach Stoflet

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To see where we got our information, go to the References page!