The Phanaeus genus was first given their name by William Sharp Macleay, based up the shape and structure of their antennal lamellae.  These beetles were first discovered around the later 1700’s to early 1800’s. Although 34 of the species of Phanaeus we are familiar with today were discovered between the dates 1830 and 1890 (Edmonds, 1993).  Even though we have known of the beetles for so long, and they have been researched greatly, there are still grey areas in terms of how these organisms reproduce.

         When looking for a mate, we Homo sapiens want an individual or partner who will put as much effort into the relationship and parenting as we do.  Turns out, those Phanaeus females are no different, they are looking for a male that is willing to invest just as much as she is (Price & May 2009).  Another feature that seems to appear attractive to the females of the Phanaeus genus is the size of the horn on the male.  Though this may seem to be relatively true, not much is known about the reproduction of these beetles, but horn size may be a contributor to the reproductive success of the males (Rasmussen 1993).  To look at another organism that has large horns, click here
     Accessed from Wikimedia Commons  

         As far as when reproduction occurs, in areas like the United States where Phanaeus vindex calls home, the beetles are more active during the rainy or wet seasons as opposed to the dry seasons, considering that most of the dry seasons here in the United States are colder than other places.  In warmer and wet climates however, Phanaeus species are active all year round meaning that reproduction does not necessarily occur at a specific time.  During the breeding season, the males and females meet at a food source, once a food source is located and a male and female are present and ready to mate, a burrow is made and a “room” if you will is created called the gallery.  The mating process does not always happen as simply as this however.  In many cases, males will have to compete for their females, and whoever fends off the other male wins the female.  Also, females are not always ready for reproduction once the burrow is created.  Many times the couple will have to live in the burrow for a substantial amount of time, where the female will feed and get herself well suited for reproduction (Price & May 2009).  In the gallery, “brood balls” are constructed by small pieces of dung, and are coated with a layer of dirt.  These balls are pear like shaped, and in the small upper cavity, a single egg is withheld (Edmonds 1994).  However, none of this happens unless a male and female have sexual intercourse before nesting.  All of the eggs that are in the brood balls are fertilized before the whole burrowing process begins.

         It has been found that a lone female that has not mated with a male, will not make a burrow for herself, a nidification burrow that is (Price & May 2009).  Females that do have a partner will also have deeper burrows than lone females, due to the help of the male in the burrowing process. Once the brood balls and the eggs are in place, the adults do little to nothing in aiding to the brood balls.  The eggs eventually turn into larvae, and the larvae feed on the dung that was constructed into the brood ball (Price & May 2009).  It has been found that P. vindex prefer clay like soils versus sandy soils.  It was observed that larvae of P. vindex had a much greater survival rate than those larvae in the sandy like soil (Price & May 2009).       

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