Trox sp.

Hide Beetles

Genus Trox photo, Hide Beetles




Family: Trogidae

Subfamily: None defined in Trogidae

Length: 4-13 mm


Image of Trox Beetle, Family Trogidae


This group has undergone considerable taxonomic debate and change. Once grouped as a subfamily of the Scarab Beetles, most authors now give the Hide Beetles full family rank. At one time all the Hide Beetles were crowded into the genus Trox, but now there is an additional North American genus, Omorgus.

As the common name suggests, these beetles feed on hides. They are among the last insects to appear at a carcass, where they feed on hair, dried flesh, feathers, or scales. Some Trox species are found only in birds nests or mammal dens. Others feed on the hair in owl pellets or coyote scat.

Hide Beetles are often covered with mud or with whatever they have been feeding upon, making their features difficult to see.

Image of Trox cf. aequalis, a Hide Beetle


Right: Identification of Trox beetles to species is a challenge, and the leading writer on the group advised that many species can be properly identified only after dissecting the male genitalia. With that painful caveat in mind, the beetle shown at right is Trox aequalis or a look-alike species. The beetle at the very top of the page (pictured on the leg of a deer carcass) is Trox capillaris or a similar species.

Note: This page is both the Trox sp. page, and the family page for Trogidae.