Blue Death-Feigning Beetles

By Noah Austin | Photo by Bruce D. Taubert

If Jurassic Park taught us anything, it’s that predators prefer live prey. Blue death-feigning beetles (Asbolus verrucosus) use that fact to their advantage: When threatened by spiders, birds, rodents or lizards, the beetles roll over and play dead, with their bodies becoming extremely rigid. Once the threat has passed, the beetles right themselves. Native to the Sonoran Desert, these nocturnal beetles are also notable for their unique color, which comes from a wax they secrete to protect themselves from dehydration and overheating. Blue death-feigning beetles have been known to live for as long as eight years, although predators that get wise to the beetles’ act can shorten that life span considerably.