Checking to see whether your beetle is male or female can make the difference between your beetle reproducing due to the courtship ritual and being sexually tame. There are numerous species of beetle; each has their own form of sexual recognition. Checking the back and rear of your beetle is the most common way to check for gender. Knowing the gender of your beetles can help you pair them more easily for sexual reproduction.
Turn the beetle on its back and locate the beetle’s rear end. In this area, the beetle will have segments, or pieces, on its shell called sternites.
Check the sternites' structure to determine whether the beetle is a male or female. On a female, there is little or no separation between the sternites. On a male, there is a membrane between the sternites that houses the male copulatory organ, or the male beetle's sexual organ. The membrane is between the sternites and is lighter than the sternites.
Confirm the shape of the sternite. The visible sternite is rounded in the males and slightly pointed in the female.
- VWR Education: Meal Worms & Darkling Beetles
- Live Science: Size Tradeoff – Horns vs. Copulatory Organ
- University of Indiana: How Secondary Sex Characters Can Drive The Origin of Species
- "Life: The Science of Biology"; David Sadava, et al.; 2009
- Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images