Phosphuga atrata

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Phosphuga atrata
Phosphuga atrata small.jpg
young P. atrata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Silphidae
Subfamily: Silphinae
Genus: Phosphuga
Species: P. atrata
Binomial name
Phosphuga atrata
Synonyms
  • Silpha atrata

Phosphuga atrata is a European carrion beetle that feeds on live snails, insects and earthworms, as well as on carrion. The beetle is up to 15mm long and has an elongated neck, which is used to reach into snail shells, which it sprays with a digestive fluid. Young beetles are brownish in color, older ones are black. The larvae are black and flattened and feed on snails as well. They pupate in the ground.

Although they are widely distributed, they are seldom found, because they hunt at night and hide during the day, often under bark. When disturbed, they excrete a yellow fluid and retract their head under the shield.

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