Endangered Species

Endangered Species

Mount Hermon June Beetle

Mount Hermon June Beetle

Scientific Name: Polyphylla barbata

Status: E

The Mt. Hermon June Beetle is a member of the family Scarabaeidae, a group containing dung beetles, rhinocerous beetles, and many other well-known insects. This beetle is found in the Santa Cruz Mountains south of the city of San Francisco. Endemic to less than 1500 acres. Most historic habitat lost.

Like most other scarab beetles, the Mt. Hermon June Beetle has soil-dwelling, grub-like larvae. This particular species prefers sandy soils, of which there are scattered patches in the Santa Cruz Mountains. These patches, known locally as the "Zayante Sand Hills" formation, appear to be the primary, if not the only, habitat of this species.

The sandy habitat provides a different microclimate than is found elsewhere in the Santa Cruz Mountains; the soils tend to drain better and are thus drier, warmer, and more sparsely vegetated. In addition to Polyphylla barbata, the Zayante Sand Hills area supports threatened plants (Santa Cruz cypress, Silverleaf manzanita) as well as several other threatened insects, including the Zayante Band-Winged Grasshopper and the Santa Cruz Rain Beetle.

The primary threats to the species have been sand mining and urban development in general.

(photo courtesy of Zayante Sandhills Conservation Board)

To Learn More:

  • Essig Museum of Entymology
    Easy to understand information about California's endangered insects.
  • Historical Geology
    Explains the composition of the rocks that form the Coastal Ranges, including the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the geologic formations found there.
  • NatureServe Explorer
    Enter species name in the search box to access a detailed description, including habitat, behavior, food, current conservation status, ecological and distribution data with citations to relevant management reports.
  • Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
    Describes the complex history of processes that shaped the coastline, bluffs, terraces, and mountains of Santa Cruz County.
  • Species Account
    Excerpts from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service documents available at the Central Branch Library