|A typical looking Eleodes, possibly E.acuticaudus.|
The pinacate beetle, also known as the stink beetle, is a genus of darkling beetle endemic to the Sonoran Desert and adjacent regions of the U.S. Southwest and Mexico, usually the species Eleodes obscurus. The name is also loosely applied to a number of closely related species of Eleodes, of Western Mexico and the Western United States (including but not limited to the Great Basin), which, aside from the wooly darkling beetle, are not easily distinguished from each other. The name pinacate is Mexican Spanish, derived from the Nahuatl (Aztec) name for the insect, pinacatl, which translates as "black beetle".
The pinacate beetle is noted for its defensive tactic of standing on its head and squirting a noxious spray. This has earned it the additional names of clown bug and stink bug, names also applied to other unrelated insects.
References in popular culture
The pinacate beetle can be seen in the Sergio Leone classic western movie For a Few Dollars More, starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Gian Maria Volontè. In the scene just before the climactic final shootout between Colonel Douglas Mortimer (Van Cleef) and Indio (Volantè), Indio, while seated at a wooden table, being held at gunpoint by one of his gang members, smashes a pinacate beetle that scampers across the table in front of him.
In another Clint Eastwood movie, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Eastwood's character (Josey Wales) has a habit of spitting tobacco juice on several objects throughout the movie, including a hound dog's head, a dead assassin's forehead, and a pinacate beetle.
Off-road motorcycle riders, when discussing a particular machine, may refer to "stinkbug" handling when the machine has a front-low, rear-high feel to it, alluding to the pinacate beetle's defensive posture.