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Scarabaeus pius
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Scarabaeidae
Subfamily: Scarabaeinae
Tribe: Scarabaeini
Genus: Scarabaeus
Linnaeus, 1758
  • Actinophorus Creutzer, 1799
  • Madateuchus Paulian, 1953
  • Mnematidium Ritsema, 1883
  • Mnematium MacLeay, 1821
  • Neateuchus Gillet, 1911
  • Neomnematium Janssens, 1938
  • Neopachysoma Ferreira, 1953
  • Sebasteos Westwood, 1847


The genus Scarabaeus consists of a number of Old World dung beetle species, including the "sacred scarab beetle", Scarabaeus sacer. These beetles feed exclusively on dung, which they accomplish by rolling a piece of dung some distance from where it was deposited, and burying it in order to feed on it underground. They also prepare food for their larvae by excavating an underground chamber, and filling it with balls that have eggs laid in them. The growing larva feeds upon the dung ball, pupates, and eventually emerges as an adult.[2]

A "scarabaeus" is also a now outdated term (OED 2) for an object in the form of a scarab beetle in art. The scarab was a popular form of amulet in Ancient Egypt,[3] and in ancient Greek art engraved gems were often carved as scarabs on the rest of the stone behind the main flattish face, which was used for sealing documents.[4]

A creature identified as Scarabaeus appears in "The Gold-Bug" by Edgar Allan Poe,[5] and a poem entitled "Scarabæus sisyphus" was created by Mathilde Blind.[6]





  1. ^ a b Biolib
  2. ^ Fabre, J. Henri. "The Sacred Beetle and Others. Dodd, Mead, New York, 1918". 
  3. ^ Pat Remler (2010). "Scarab beetle". Egyptian Mythology A to Z (3rd ed.). Infobase Publishing. pp. 169–171. ISBN 978-1-60413-926-6. 
  4. ^ C. Elkins A Greek Scarab with a Centaur in the Getty Museum The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal Volume 13 1985
  5. ^ Poestories
  6. ^ Classic poets
  7. ^ Catalogue of Life
  8. ^ NCBI
  9. ^ Fauna europaea Archived 2012-05-30 at the Wayback Machine.