T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Beetle (Devil's coachhorse) Creophilus oculatus

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Staphylinidae
Subfamily: Staphylininae
Genus: Creophilus
Species: C. oculatus
Binominal name: Creophilus oculatus
Common name: Devil's coachhorse (They common name derives from a European belief that a related beetle carried away the corpses of sinners).

Creophilus oculatus is an indigenous, terrestrial, elongated beetle with short elytra (part that the delicate wings are tucked under to protect them). It has a shiny black head and thorax. It has distinctive orange/red cheeks. A good proportion of its black, flexible abdomen is visible. This beetle has an odour of rotten fish. 
Its found throughout New Zealand, including the Kermadecs, Chatham Islands and the Auckland Islands.

Creophilus oculatus is one of the commonest associates of carrion in secondary and tertiary stages of decomposition. They are a predator of Calliphorid maggots. They grasp them with their needle-sharp mandibles, so that the anterior and posterior ends are pinned together, they then extend their wings and fly off, to consume their prey later on.

 



Photo showing the distinctive coloured cheeks.