#1143 - Asbolus verrucosus - Blue Death-feigning Beetle
Purrdence was in Washington DC this week, and among the places she visited was the O. Orkin Insect Zoo at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Naturally, she posted a bunch of photos to see If I could recognise them. It helps that people like @speciesofleastconcern and a good fifth of the other blogs I follow post North American insects.
This large beetle was an Ironclad Beetle, if I recalled correctly, but checking ruled out the Zopheridae, the very robust beetles usually called iron-clads. So I fell back to my other suspicion, a desert-dwelling Darkling Beetle. That time, I was right - Asbolus verrucosus is native to Sonoran Desert and other parts of the US SW, but has become quite popular in the pet trade for their robustness, longevity, and ease of care. The common name comes from their habit of playing dead if dosturbed, and the blue pruinescense is a water-proofing wax.