Range: North America, especially the United States.
Habitat: Decaying wood.
Diet: Decaying wood.
Size: Between 1 and 2 inches.
This rather unassuming beetle goes by many names, such as peg beetle, Bess beetle, patent leather beetle, and wood beetle. My sister (who is holding the beetle in this picture) and I have always called them wood beetles before now, but it was only recently that we were aware that they were more commonly called peg beetles. There are around 500 species of similar beetles worldwide. According to one site which I used for research, this beetle has a “monopoly in the North American geography.” This species is more common in the southern parts of its range, that is, the southern United States. It is true that in my area, almost any rotting log conceals many of these beetles, and they can be found by a quick dig with a stick. Adults and larvae inhabit the same galleries, until the larvae pupate and mature, after which they will sometimes leave the log and find another.