Darkling Beetle (Philolithus actuosus)

Beetle - Original.jpg

This is an original pen-and-ink illustration. It is not available as a digitally "painted" version or color infographic at this time.


  • Class: Insecta

  • Order: Coleoptera

  • Family: Tenebrionidae

  • Genus: Philolithus

  • Species: P. actuosus


This illustration of a Philolithus actuosus, a Tenebrionid (aka "Darkling") beetle, was completed in September 2015. It is based upon a photograph I took in the southern foothills of the Tehachapi Mountains of southern California of an individual that was not originally identified to species. To my knowledge, the individual I photographed that month is the only specimen of this species I have ever observed.


Information about many of the thousands of species of obscure Tenebrionid beetles is difficult to come by as they are not well-studied. Little data appears to be available for this species' natural history. All species of Philolithus have adult occurrence in the Fall, and have a very short adult life averaging about a month, within which they eat and mate. This taxon may consist of multiple species, varying in size from south (larger) to north (smaller). It is found in the southwestern United States, perhaps into northwestern Mexico, in arid environments.


6 inches X 8 inches


  • Pen and ink on paper (Staedtler pigment liner on Strathmore medium drawing paper)