The Fascinating World of the Ten-Lined June Beetle

Ten-lined June Beetle, Pack Creek, San Juan County, UT 9 June 2016

If you’re a nature enthusiast or simply curious about the diverse world of insects, you may have come across the ten-lined June beetle. This striking beetle, known scientifically as Polyphylla decemlineata, is a captivating member of the scarab beetle family. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the fascinating characteristics, habitat, life cycle, and ecological significance of the ten-lined June beetle.

Appearance and Identification

Ten-Lined June Beetle or Long-Haired June Beetle or Hissing Beetle, SCARABAEIDAE (Polyphylla decimlineata)
Ten-Lined June Beetle or Long-Haired June Beetle or Hissing Beetle, SCARABAEIDAE (Polyphylla decimlineata)

The ten-lined June beetle is a visually striking insect that catches the eye with its distinctive appearance. Here are some key features to help you identify this beetle:

  • Size: Adult ten-lined June beetles typically measure between 1 to 1.5 inches in length, making them relatively large compared to other beetle species.
  • Coloration: The beetle’s elytra (hardened forewings) are light brown to tan in color, with five distinct white stripes running lengthwise on each elytron, giving the beetle its common name.
  • Body structure: The ten-lined June beetle has a robust, oval-shaped body covered in fine, dense hairs. The thorax is slightly narrower than the elytra, and the head features prominent mandibles and antennae.
  • Sexual dimorphism: Male ten-lined June beetles have elongated, fan-like antennae, while females have shorter, more compact antennae.

Habitat and Distribution

Ten-lined June beetles are native to North America and can be found in various regions across the continent. Some key points about their habitat and distribution include:

  • Geographic range: These beetles are commonly found in the western United States, particularly in states such as California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. They can also be found in parts of Canada and Mexico.
  • Preferred habitats: Ten-lined June beetles are typically associated with forested areas, especially those with sandy or loose soil. They are often found near trees such as pines, oaks, and junipers.
  • Seasonal activity: As their name suggests, ten-lined June beetles are most active during the summer months, typically from May to July, depending on the location and climate.

Life Cycle and Behavior

Ten-lined June Beetle
Ten-lined June Beetle

Understanding the life cycle and behavior of the ten-lined June beetle is essential for appreciating its ecological role. Let’s explore some key aspects:

  1. Egg stage: Female ten-lined June beetles lay their eggs in the soil, usually near the roots of trees or other vegetation. The eggs are small, oval-shaped, and white in color.
  2. Larval stage: Once the eggs hatch, the larvae, known as grubs, begin feeding on plant roots. The larval stage can last for several years, during which the grubs molt and grow in size.
  3. Pupal stage: After the larval stage, the grubs enter a pupal stage, where they undergo metamorphosis and transform into adult beetles. This stage typically occurs in the soil.
  4. Adult stage: Adult ten-lined June beetles emerge from the soil during the summer months. They are primarily nocturnal and are attracted to lights at night. Adults feed on the foliage of various trees and shrubs.
Life StageDurationKey Characteristics
Egg2-4 weeksSmall, oval-shaped, white
Larva2-3 yearsGrub-like, feeds on plant roots
PupaSeveral weeks to monthsUndergoes metamorphosis in the soil
AdultSeveral weeks to monthsNocturnal, feeds on foliage, attracted to light

Ecological Significance

Ten-lined June beetles play a significant role in their ecosystems. Here are some ways they contribute:

  • Nutrient cycling: As larvae, ten-lined June beetles help break down organic matter in the soil, contributing to nutrient cycling and soil health.
  • Food source: Both the larvae and adults serve as a food source for various predators, such as birds, mammals, and other insects.
  • Pollination: Although not their primary role, adult ten-lined June beetles may contribute to pollination as they feed on plant foliage.

Conservation and Management

While ten-lined June beetles are not currently considered endangered, it’s essential to understand the potential threats to their populations and the importance of conservation efforts:

  • Habitat loss: Deforestation and land-use changes can lead to the destruction of suitable habitats for ten-lined June beetles, impacting their populations.
  • Pesticide use: The use of broad-spectrum pesticides can have unintended consequences on non-target insects, including ten-lined June beetles.
  • Climate change: Alterations in temperature and precipitation patterns due to climate change may affect the timing of the beetle’s life cycle and the availability of suitable habitats.

To support the conservation of ten-lined June beetles and other insect species, it’s crucial to:

  • Preserve and restore natural habitats
  • Promote sustainable land-use practices
  • Minimize the use of broad-spectrum pesticides
  • Support research and monitoring efforts

Frequently Asked Questions

Are ten-lined June beetles harmful to humans? 

No, ten-lined June beetles are not harmful to humans. They do not bite or sting and are not known to cause any direct harm to people.

Can ten-lined June beetles be kept as pets? 

While it is possible to keep ten-lined June beetles as pets, it is generally not recommended. These beetles have specific habitat requirements and are best observed in their natural environment.

How can I attract ten-lined June beetles to my garden? 

Ten-lined June beetles are attracted to light sources at night. However, it is not advisable to actively attract them to your garden, as they may feed on the foliage of plants and trees.

What should I do if I find a ten-lined June beetle in my home?

 If you find a ten-lined June beetle in your home, the best course of action is to gently catch it and release it outside in a natural area, such as a nearby forest or park.


The ten-lined June beetle is a fascinating insect that showcases the incredible diversity of life on our planet. By understanding its characteristics, life cycle, and ecological significance, we can develop a deeper appreciation for these remarkable creatures and the vital role they play in their ecosystems.

As we continue to learn more about ten-lined June beetles and other insect species, it’s essential to promote conservation efforts and sustainable practices to ensure their populations remain healthy and thriving for generations to come. By working together to protect these amazing creatures and their habitats, we can help maintain the delicate balance of nature and preserve the wonders of the insect world.

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