Nature & Culture of Japan

To make your trip to Japan more interesting


A big and beautiful dung beetle: Blue in Nara, green in Kyoto

Phelotrupes auratus is a kind of insect that mainly appears in the forest. It is very beautiful, but they it has vulgar habit of eating poop.

You can often see this insect in Nara Park, which I wrote about before. This is because the density of deer there is higher than in other places.

The body color is metallic blue in Nara, while metallic green in Kyoto. It is strange that there are color differences between the two areas that are only about 30 kilometers apart. Because its flying ability is high, I think it is not due to the genetic differences but the differences in the predation pressure probably by birds. In the northern part of Osaka, it is in the metallic purple.

There is a book that summarizes the color variations of this dung beetle species in whole Japan. Usually in most books on nature, there are multiple species. But this book is so groundbreaking that contains only one species. The all pages are in color, and there are many place names and the color photos of this dung beetle species there. This book includes both elements of the natural sciences and the art.

Handbook Series of Insects 3
Phelotrupes auratus of Japan

Keiichi Tsukamoto, Masashi Inagaki,
Masakazu Kawahara, Masato Mori, 2014.

304 x 220 mm, 111pp., 48 color pls.,

Shown in the figures by locality, text: all in Japanese.

Price: JPY 6,400-

This book was published at the Mushi-sha in Tokyo. You cannot purchase one at Amazon or general bookstores. Direct application to the websites below is needed.

Application in Japanese:

Application in English:

Phelotrupes auratus in Nara is metallic blue.


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