Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Dragon Sensory Hours: The dragons will be asleep from 2 to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Blue Death-Feigning Beetle

Asbolus Verrucosus

The blue death-feigning beetle is a small species of darkling beetle found mostly in the Southwestern United States.

Darkling Beetles are a family of nocturnal insects. This family (Tenebrionidae) Contains about 20,000 small dark beetles, though some do have brightly colored markings.

Range & Habitat

This species is a desert dweller that is common in the Southwestern U.S., especially Arizona's Sonoran Desert.

Conservation Status: Not Evaluated


Rotting plants and seeds, lichens and fungus

Life Span

Up to 8 years

Fun Facts about the Blue Death-Feigning Beetle

     The blue death-feigning beetle gets its bluish tint from a wax that it secretes to protect itself against overheating and dehydration.

     This beetle gets its name from its defense mechanism, playing dead! When they feel threatened they roll over onto their back and play dead. Their main predator, spiders, prefer live prey instead of dead husks.

     In 2018 the Cincinnati Zoo was the first zoo to successfully breed the blue death-feigning beetle


Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Darkling beetle". Encyclopedia Britannica, 3 Jan. 2018, Accessed 15 February 2021.

“Blue Death Feigning Beetle.” Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 4 June 2018,

“Cincinnati Zoo is the first on record to breed the blue feigning-death beetle”, WCPO Cincinnati, September 25 2018. Accessed 17 February 2021.

Updated June 13, 2023
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