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Any of about 30,000 beetle species (family Scarabaeidae), found worldwide, that are compact, heavy-bodied, and oval. Each antenna terminates in three flattened plates that fit together to form a club. The outer edges of the front legs may be toothed or scalloped. Species range from about 0.2 to 4.8 in. (5 to 120 mm) long and include one of the heaviest known insects. One species of dung beetle, Scarabaeus sacer, was sacred to the ancient Egyptians. Many species are agricultural pests (e.g., chafer, Japanese beetle, June beetle); many are popular with insect collectors because they are large and have beautifully coloured, hard, highly polished forewings.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on scarab beetle, visit Britannica.com.
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