Domino beetle (Anthia duodecimguttata)

GenusAnthia (1)

The domino beetle has yet to be classified by the IUCN.

The domino beetle (Anthia duodecimguttata) is a member of the Carabidae family, an insect group which contains an impressive 40,000 species worldwide (2). It is a striking black beetle, with a distinctive pattern of ten white spots along the back, appearing much like the dots on a domino piece and hence giving this remarkable little beetle its common name (3).

The domino beetle is fairly common throughout Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen (2) (4).

The domino beetle typically inhabits desert scrubland and gravel plains around the edges of sandy deserts and mountains (3).

All beetles are characterised by a tough, inflexible pair of modified forewings called elytra, which meet along the centre of the body and cover the membranous hind wings. The domino beetle is a ground beetle and although the elytra are still present, they are no longer adapted for flight. Instead, the domino beetle has developed long, slender legs for speed, and excellent vision for hunting its prey on the ground. All beetles also have sense organs which are concentrated in the head region, while tiny, vibration-sensitive hairs cover the entire body (5).    

The flightless ground beetles of the genus Anthia have an unusual defence mechanism. These beetles are able to squirt out jets of formic acid when they feel threatened, causing burns to the skin (5) and producing an extremely unpleasant smell to deter potential predators (6).

The domino beetle generally remains hidden in the day and becomes active at night (3) (6). It preys on many different invertebrates including beetles, woodlice, worms, caterpillars and other small arthropods (6). Mating takes place after the rainy season (3).

There are currently no known threats to the domino beetle.

There are no known conservation measures which specifically target the domino beetle.

Find out more about the insects that inhabit the Middle East region:

Find out more about conservation in the United Arab Emirates:

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

  1. UNEP-WCMC (January, 2011)
  2. Sadeghi, H., Saadi, H. and Felix, R. (2011) Ground and tiger beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) from Kerman and Khorasan provinces of Iran. Munis Entymology and Zoology, 6(1): 186-193.  
  3. Emirates Philatelic Association: Arthropods (Insects) of the United Arab Emirates (January, 2011)
  4. Ghahari, H., Avgin, S.S. and Ostovan, H. (2010) Carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) collected from different ecosystems in Iran with new records. Türkiye Entomoloji Dergisi, 34(2):179-195.
  5. O'Toole, C. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Insects and their Allies. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  6. Walker, D.H. and Pittaway, A.R. (1987) Insects of Eastern Arabia. Macmillan Publishers Ltd., London. Available at: