Large Pie-dish Beetle
S3: Horn
Ellura
Large Pie-dish Beetle
S3: Head with eyes just peeping out
 
    
Large Pie-dish Beetle (Helea waitei)Class: Animals (Animalia) - Jointed Legs (Arthropoda) - Insects (Insecta)
Order: Beetles (Coleoptera)
Family: Darkling Beetle (Tenebrionidae)
Species: Large Pie-dish Beetle (Helea waitei)
This Photo:     S3: Antenna
Synonym: Helaeus waitei

General Species Information:
Found on Ellura (in the Murray Mallee, SA) and elsewhere
Notice the single, central ridge running from the front to the back of the elytra on this specimen.
Also a small horn on the prothorax between the head & elytra.
When threatened they tilt their whole body up on side to present the shell to the threat (protecting their undersides). They are able to move their head inside the shell like a tortoise, so can close the hole off with nearly no eyes showing, or have half the eye poking through.
The body & legs are covered in short thick hair.
The elytra is fused, so they can't fly. The last specimen we found is covered in a white substance. Possible fungus of some sort. But other beetles exude a fungus like substance to help with camoflage.
The 2 specimens we measured were 27mm & 33mm total length. To be clear, this includes the "shell', tip to tail. The actual head to abdomen extremities were 26mm (of the 33mm). 7mm of "shell" front & back. It can be unclear what "length" means with inverts. Normally we don't include appendages, but the shell doesn't seem like an appendage. So we've included it for now, unless otherwise notified.
We have now found 4 of these, in Jan & Feb.

Copyright © 2020 Brett & Marie Smith. All Rights Reserved. Photographed 13-Jan-2020
This species is an Australian Native Species, not listed in the SA Murray Mallee Survey of 2010.