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© thomas carefoot     (Photo ID #15552)


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Distribution of Thinopinus pictus in British Columbia in British Columbia


The Pictured Rove Beetle is found along the Pacific Coast of North America, from southern Alaska to Baja California (Wikipedia 2011). It inhabits west-coast sand beaches where it feeds primarily on beach-hopper amphipods Megalorchestia spp. The beetle in both instar and adult stages digs temporary burrows above the high-tide mark, emerging on overcast days and at night to prey on crawling or even jumping amphipods. The beetle is largely an ambush predator, is sensitive to vibration, and with its sickle-shaped jaws can quickly subdue, dismember, gut, and eat even relatively large amphipods. The amphipods have no defenses beyond their jumping ability. However, if they land within a few centimeters of a beetle, in the short time it takes them to re-position themselves, they may be attacked. The beetles follow the tides and their prey up and down the beaches apparently using moisture gradients in the sand for orientation. For more on their predatory activities go to A SNAIL'S ODYSSEY and scroll down to INSECTS.

Note Author: Tom Carefoot, Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeS4S5No StatusNot Listed

BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Thinopinus variegatus Motschulsky 1853

General References