Life histories of the geotrupids are diverse, and food habits vary from saprophagous to coprophagous and mycetophagous, and some adults apparently do not feed. Adults of most species are secretive, living most of their life in burrows. Although adults do not tend larvae, adults provision food for larvae in brood burrows. There is overlapping of generations in some species. For example, in the genus Bolboceras, eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults have been observed together in a single branching burrow. Adults dig vertical burrows (15-200 cm in depth) and provision larval cells with dead leaves, cow dung, horse dung, or humus. Burrows of some species extend to a depth of 3.0 meters. In restricted habitats, some species are semi-colonial. Geotrupids are not of economic importance, although their burrowing has occasionally caused damage in lawns. Adults of many geotrupids are nocturnal and are frequently attracted to lights at night. Some species are attracted to fermenting malt and molasses baits. Most adults and larvae stridulate. The biology and behavior of many species, especially the Bolboceratinae, are poorly known. References: Howden 1955; Woodruff 1973.
Form scarabaeiform (C-shaped, cylindrical). Color creamy-white or yellow (except at caudal end which may be darkened by accumulated feces). Cranium heavily sclerotized, brown to dark brown. Antennae 3-segmented, penultimate segment bearing 1 or more distal sense organs, last segment reduced in diameter. Lateral ocelli absent. Frontoclypeal suture absent (Geotrupinae and Bolboceratinae) or present (Taurocerastinae). Labrum at apex with 3 weak lobes or rounded. Epipharynx usually trilobed with symmetrical tormae. Maxilla with galea and lacinia distinctly separate; maxillary stridulatory area with teeth; maxillary palpi 4-segmented. Abdominal segments 3 to 7 with 2 annuli, each with one or more transverse rows of short setae. Spiracles cribriform (Geotrupinae and Lethrinae) or biforous (Bolboceratinae and Taurocerastinae). Venter of last abdominal segment V-shaped or Y-shaped, surrounded by fleshy lobes in some taxa. Legs 4-segmented (some Bolboceratinae) or pro- and mesothoracic legs 3-segmented and metathoracic leg reduced in size and 2-segmented (Geotrupinae and Taurocerastinae); stridulatory apparatus on meso- and metathoracic legs present (some Geotrupinae, some Bolboceratinae, some Taurocerastinae) or absent (some Geotrupinae, some Bolboceratinae, and Lethrinae); claws absent (Geotrupinae, Taurocerastinae, and some Bolboceratinae) or present (Eucanthus and Bolbocerosoma). References: Ritcher 1966; Scholtz 1990; Scholtz and Browne 1996.
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