Animal Species:Darkling Beetle
The darkling beetles (family Tenebrionidae) are very diverse in Australia, with over 1,500 recorded species.
Darkling Beetle sitting on leaf
Photographer: Jiri Lochman/Lochman Transparencies © Jiri Lochman/Lochman Transparencies
Standard Common Name
Number of species
Darkling beetles are often confused with other groups of beetles, and can usually only be identified with the aid of a hand lens or microscope.
Ground beetles (family Carabidae)
Darkling beetles are found throughout south-eastern Australia.
Darkling beetles are found in a wide range of habitats from woodlands to coasts.
Feeding and Diet
Most darkling beetle species are scavengers and feed on dead plant or fungal material.
Other behaviours and adaptations
Many darkling beetle species are flightless, but Ecnolagria tomentosa is commonly seen flying around in gardens and woodland areas and can be recognised in the air by its particularly slow flight. It has little need for speed as it is toxic to most animals that might eat it. The larvae are very hairy and live in leaf litter.