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Oxysternon festivum festivum Linné, 1767 male (3188618418).jpg
Pinned exemplar of a male
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Scarabaeidae
Tribe: Phanaeini
Genus: Oxysternon
Laporte, 1840
Type species
Scarabaeus festivum[1]

Sternaspis Hope, 1837
Strombodes Gistel, 1857

Oxysternon is a genus of Scarabaeidae or scarab beetles in the superfamily Scarabaeoidea. It can be distinguished from all other phanaeines and scarabaeine dung beetles by a long, spiniform extension of the anterior angle of the metasternum. Most taxa vary in color and color pattern, and are more commonly found in tones of green, often infused with yellow or coppery highlights. All species appear very smooth or glassy smooth to the unaided eye.[1]

Taxonomy and nomenclature[edit]

The genus Sternaspis was proposed first by Hope in 1837, but the name was preoccupied and thus invalid. Laporte, writing under the pen name of Le Compte de Castelnau, proposed the genus Oxysternon to include several species of Phaneus-like species. O. festivum was later designated as the type species.[2][1]

Phylogeny and evolution[edit]

The genus is monophyletic and its sister group is the genus Phanaeus. Two subgenera and two further species groups are recognized by some authors. It has been suggested that the current distribution of the species reflect vicariance events following climatic fluctuations in the Amazon.[1]


There are currently 11 species in the genus Oxysternon.[3]


Oxysternon is a neotropical genus occurring north of the Tropic of Capricorn and east of the Andes. Only two, widespread species are found in the northwest of South America and up to the southern portion of Central America. Most Oxysternon species have restricted distributions within the Amazon basin, the Guiana Shield, the Cerrado region and the Atlantic coastal forest of Brazil.[1]


O. palaemon is a common beetle in the cerrado formations of Brazil and adjacent areas of Bolivia and Paraguay. All other species inhabit supermoist to mesic forest habitats with different degrees of tolerance to fragmentation and forest degradation.[1][5]

The behavior of Oxysternon species has not been studied in detail. All species seem to be coprophagous or copro-necrophagous, although fruit pulp is sometimes used as an adult food resource.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Edmonds, W. D. (1972). "Comparative skeletal morphology, systematics and evolution of the phanaeine dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae)". University of Kansas Science Bulletin. 49 (11): 731–874. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  2. ^ Castelnau, M. (Le Comte de) (1850). Histoire naturelle des insectes, coléoptères. Paris, France: Société Bibliophile. pp. Tome deuxieme, Premiere partie. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.36538., pag. 82
  3. ^ Edmonds, W.D.; Zidek, J. (2004). "Revision of the Neotropical dung beetle genus Oxysternon (Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae: Phanaeini)". Folia Heyrovskyana. 11: 1–58.
  4. ^ Linné, Carl von (1767). Systema naturae : per regna tria natura, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (Ed. 12, reformata. ed.). Holmiae :Impensis direct. Laurentii Salvii. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.68927. pag. 552
  5. ^ Ferrer-Paris, José R.; Lozano, Cecilia; Cardozo-Urdaneta, Arlene; Thomas Cabianca, Arianna (2016). "Indicative response of Oxysternon festivum Linné (Coleoptera: Scarabaidae) to vegetation condition in the basin of the Orinoco river, Venezuela". Journal of Insect Conservation. 20 (3): 527–538. doi:10.1007/s10841-016-9886-6.
  6. ^ Silvius, KM; Fragoso, JMV (2002). "Pulp handling by vertebrate seed dispersers increases palm seed predation by bruchid beetles in the northern Amazon". Journal of Ecology. 90 (6): 1024–1032. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2745.2002.00728.x.