The Native Prairie Association of Texas (NPAT) Prairie Seekers (PS) had the perfect weather yesterday! After the multiple days of high winds, the group was so lucky to have such a beautiful day to learn about the prairie at the Dixon Water Foundation.

The group learned about the grasses and forbs of the prairie. Did I mention the weather was perfect.

Rainbow Scarab (Phanaeus vindex) joined the group! This is such an eye popping beetle.

I brought it home for a closer look. It has a some hairs on its “under carriage”.

There are seven species in North America. Four species can be found in Texas. However, not all the species in this genus are as colorful. Several are just plain black. Unlike some dung beetles, this one excavates a cavity and forms a dung ball underneath a dung mass, as opposed to rolling it away, as do other scarabs (BugGuide).

After the indoor photo shoot, I took it back outside to release. In this front view, I think it looks like a triceratops.

Eye view!

An ant climbed up on it. Immediately, the beetle used a leg to knock it off.

Front two feet. The shape must be very helpful for maneuvering in the dung.

The orange antenna was so cool up close! It used its front feet to wipe them off several times while I watched. I hoped it would find the perfect patty!

Finally, on my way to release the beetle, my first of season (FOS) Krider’s Red-tailed Hawk! The Northern Harriers are out too.

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Keep looking!

The more you know, the more you see and the more you see, the more you know.


    1. Hi Michael, Welcome! It was so fun. And it was so neat to see so many ages of people coming to learn about our beautiful prairies. Hope to see you at more events.

  1. How interesting about the Rainbow Scarab. I saw my first one earlier today. Mary, you and I have this uncanny way of having experiences coincide. Well mine was in the horse trough and I rescued it. Gorgeous thing. And luckily it had not drowned and was able to walk away, after i photographed it. I was thinking mine was difformis but I really don’t know. I couldn’t find anything about how it and sp vindex compare in my short search on iNaturalist. Mine was a female so it lacked the horn. The legs were fascinating. I read about the antenae after I had already released it so I’m glad i got to see your photo.

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