ColeopteraAmarygmus sp Anoplognathus sp Aphanestes gymnopleura Buprestidae Cerambycidae Coleoptera (Beetles) Curculionidae Digitonthophagus gazella Dung Beetle Eretes australis Helea scaphiformis Ladybirds (Beetles) Lepidiota Lucanidae Neospades sp Omorgus Paropsine Beetle Paropsisterna sp Pittosporum Leaf Beetle (Lamprolina impressicollis) Protaetia fusca Pterohelaeus sp Rhipiceridae Scarabaeidae Xylophilostenus octophyllus

This is the Pie-dish Beetle (Helea scaphiformis), member of Darkling Beetles (family Tenebrionidae) photographed at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds in the Northern Territory.

Pie-dish Beetle (Helea scaphiformis), member of Darkling Beetles (family Tenebrionidae), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Pie-dish Beetle (Helea scaphiformis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds NT © Dorothy Latimer

The common name of Pie-dish Beetle is in reference to their overall “pie-dish” shape and the broad body flanges (rims) around the body that includes the thick, hard, fore-wings (elytra) and front part of the thorax or second body segment (prothorax).

The Helea spp. are nearly always black in colour.

Pie-dish Beetle (Helea scaphiformis), member of Darkling Beetles (family Tenebrionidae), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Pie-dish Beetle (Helea scaphiformis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds NT © Dorothy Latimer

The adult pie-dish beetles are found foraging on the ground, mainly at night (although the once pictured here was early morning). They tend to move quickly.

Some species are known to return to the same resting-place at dawn, often using vacant mammal burrows to shelter in, whilst other species are commonly found under leaf litter, logs and pieces of wood or stones.

Pie-dish Beetle (Helea scaphiformis), member of Darkling Beetles (family Tenebrionidae), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Pie-dish Beetle (Helea scaphiformis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds NT © Dorothy Latimer

The genus Helea are found across the Australian continent, except for the highest rainfall areas in the south, east and north, with most species found in the arid parts of Australia, including the drier mallee areas.

Pie-dish Beetle (Helea scaphiformis), member of Darkling Beetles (family Tenebrionidae), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Pie-dish Beetle (Helea scaphiformis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds NT © Dorothy Latimer
Pie-dish Beetle (Helea scaphiformis), member of Darkling Beetles (family Tenebrionidae), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Pie-dish Beetle (Helea scaphiformis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds NT © Dorothy Latimer
Pie-dish Beetle (Helea scaphiformis), member of Darkling Beetles (family Tenebrionidae), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Pie-dish Beetle (Helea scaphiformis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds NT © Dorothy Latimer
Pie-dish Beetle (Helea scaphiformis), member of Darkling Beetles (family Tenebrionidae), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Pie-dish Beetle (Helea scaphiformis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds NT © Dorothy Latimer
Pie-dish Beetle (Helea scaphiformis), member of Darkling Beetles (family Tenebrionidae), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Pie-dish Beetle (Helea scaphiformis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds NT © Dorothy Latimer

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Informal: Pterygotes
  • Order: Coleoptera
  • Suborder: Polyphaga
  • Superfamily: Tenebrionoidea
  • Family: Tenebrionidae
  • Informal: Tenebrionoid Branch
  • Subfamily: Tenebrioninae
  • Tribe: Heleini
  • Subtribe: Heleina
  • Genus: Helea
  • Species: Helea scaphiformis

Footnote & References

  1. Australasian Beetles Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/1180404322409639
  2. Helea scaphiformis (Blackburn, 1899), Atlas of Living Australia, https://bie.ala.org.au/species/https://biodiversity.org.au/afd/taxa/50669752-8b9c-412b-890d-04aacd059c80
  3. Pie-dish Beetles, Australian Museum, https://australian.museum/learn/animals/insects/pie-dish-beetles/

ColeopteraAmarygmus sp Anoplognathus sp Aphanestes gymnopleura Buprestidae Cerambycidae Coleoptera (Beetles) Curculionidae Digitonthophagus gazella Dung Beetle Eretes australis Helea scaphiformis Ladybirds (Beetles) Lepidiota Lucanidae Neospades sp Omorgus Paropsine Beetle Paropsisterna sp Pittosporum Leaf Beetle (Lamprolina impressicollis) Protaetia fusca Pterohelaeus sp Rhipiceridae Scarabaeidae Xylophilostenus octophyllus

InsectsBees Beetles Blattodea Butterflies Coleoptera Cicada Crabronidae Diptera Dragonflies & Damselflies Formicidae Hemiptera Mango Planthopper Moths Orthoptera Orthopteroid Processionary Caterpillar Stink Bugs, Shield Bugs and Allies Syrphidae Wasps Water Scorpion Witchetty Grub