Blue Feigning Death Beetles

Blue Death Feigning Beetles
Asbolus verrucosus

Lindsay Wildlife Experience adopted six blue feigning death beetles in August 2021. Blue feigning death beetles are native to southwestern deserts in the United States such as the Sonoran and Mojave deserts. They serve as important decomposers in the wild and will eat almost anything they can find, such as fruits, vegetables, insect jelly and dead insects. They obtained their characteristic name through a defense strategy where they roll onto their backs, stick their legs up and appear dead (i.e. “death feigning”) in the hopes that this confuses their predator and makes them appear inedible. In order to adapt to their dry desert environment, they actually have fused wing covers that prevent flight. The beetles also produce a blue waxy coat which gives them their coloring and keeps them “sealed” to prevent water loss. As a result, the intensity of their blue coloration differs depending on the ambient humidity of their environment. If their environment is dry and the humidity is low, they will produce more wax and become a brighter lighter shade of blue. If they get wet, all of their wax washes off and they turn black.