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Invertebrate Collections

Large numbers of invertebrates have been recovered from Rancho La Brea including molluscs and arthropods. Thus far, beetles are the most commonly recovered insects, representing 25 families.

The presence of both freshwater clams and snails suggest several different aquatic habitats ranging from shallow fast-flowing streams to stagnant ponds. A large number of the beetles and flies were carrion feeders and may have become trapped while feeding on carcasses of the larger animals that got stuck in the asphalt. Many of the invertebrate fossils recovered are land dwellers and would not be preserved under normal conditions. The diversity and the different life-cycle stages of these insects are evidence indicating that decaying large animals lay on the surface of the asphalt for up to five months. Most of the fossil invertebrates found here represent living species although they may not live in Los Angeles today.

Arthropods include Scorpionida (scorpions), Araneida (spiders), Ostracoda (water fleas), Isopoda (pill bugs) and Diplopoda (millipedes) as well as seven orders of insects: Odonta (damselflies), Orthoptera (grasshoppers and crickets), Isoptera (termites), Hemiptera (true bugs and cicadas), Coleoptera (beetles), Diptera (flies), and Hymenoptera (ants and wasps).

The following taxonomic list has been taken directly from the following reference but revisions may be necessary. 

Stock, C. 1992. Rancho La Brea: A record of Pleistocene life in California. 7th ed. Revised by J.M. Harris. Science Series no.37. Los Angeles: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 113 pp.

† = extinct
‡ = represented by artifactual material

Class Arachnida
Order Scorpionida
Family Vaejovidae (scorpions)
gen. & sp. indet.


Order Araneae (spiders and ticks)
Family Clubionidae (sac spider)
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Thomisidae
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Salticidae
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Lycosidae
gen. & sp. indet.


Order Opiliones (daddy longlegs)
gen. & sp. indet.


Class Ostracoda
Order 
Podocopida 
Family Cyprididae
Candona cf. C. acutula Sars, 1924
Candona candida (Müller, 1776)
Candona cf. C. rawsoni Tressler, 1957
Candona sp.
Cyclocypris cf. C. laevis (Müller, 1785)
Cypridopsis vidua (Müller, 1776)
Cyprinotus glaucus
Cypris sp.
Eucypris  sp.
Limnocythere sp. cf. L. paraornata
Potamocypris grandulosa


Class Malacostraca 
Order Isopoda

Family Cytheridae
Armadillidium vulgare (Latreille), 1804


Class Diplopoda (millipedes)
Order Julida

Family Julidae
Julus occidentalis Grinnell, 1908 †
Julus cavicola Grinnell, 1908 †


Order Spirobolida ("round-backed" millipedes)
Family Spirobolidae
Spirobolus australis Grinnell, 1908 †
Spirobolus sp.


Class Chilopoda (centipedes)
gen. & sp. indet.


Class Insecta
Order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, locusts and crickets)

Family Acrididae
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Stenopelmatidae
Stenopelmatus sp.


Order Dermaptera (earwigs)
Family Carcinophoridae
Euboriella annulipes (Lucas, 1847) (contamination?)


Order Isoptera (termites)
Family indet.
gen. & sp. indet.


Order Hemiptera (true bugs)
Family Corixidae
Hemipleura sp.

Family Notonectidae
Notonecta sp.

Family Belostomatidae (giant water bugs)
Lethocerus americanus (Leidy, 1847)

Family Gerridae (water striders)
Gerris sp.

Family Coreidae
Catorhintha sp.

Family Reduviidae
Rasahus sp. cf. R. bigguttatus (Say, 1832)

Family Scutelleridae?
gen. & sp. indet.


Order Homoptera
Family Membracidae (treehoppers)
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Cicadellidae (leafhoppers)
gen. & sp. indet.


Order Coleoptera
Suborder Adephaga

Family Cicindelidae
Cicindela haemorrhagica LeConte, 1851
Cicindela oregona LeConte, 1857

Family Carabidae
Amara insignis Dejean, 1831
Agonum maculicolle (Dejean, 1828)
Agonum sp.
Bembidion sp.
Calosoma semilaeve LeConte, 1849
Calosoma cf. C. cancellatum Eschscholtz, 1829
Calosoma sp.
Dicheirus sp.
Elaphrus californicus Mannerheim, 1843
Elaphrus cf. E. finitimus Casey, 1920
Elaphrus sp.
Platynus cf. P. funebris LeConte, 1854
Pterostichus sp.
Trechus sp.
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Haliplidae
Peltodytes sp.
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Dytiscidae
Acilius sp.
Colymbetes strigatus "celaenus" Pierce
Colymbetes cf. C. strigatus LeConte, 1851
Colymbetes sp.
Cybister ellipticus LeConte, 1851
Cybister sp.
Deronectes sp.
Dytiscus sp.
Thermonectes sp.

Family Gyrinidae
Gyrinus sp.


Suborder Myxophaga
Family Sphaeriidae
gen. & sp. indet.


Suborder Polyphaga
Family Histeridae
Hololepta vicina LeConte, 1851
Saprinus sp.
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Hydrophilidae
Helophorus sp.
Hydrous triangularis (Say, 1823)
Hydrous sp.
Tropisternis sp.
gen. sp. indet.

Family Limnebiidae
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Leiodidae
Agthidium sp.

Family Silphidae
Heterosilpha ramosa (Say, 1823)
Heterosilpha sp.
Nicrophorus guttula Motschoulsky, 1845
Nicrophorus marginatus Fabricius, 1801
Nicrophorus nigrita Mannerheim
Nicrophorus sp.
Thanatophilus lapponicus (Herbst, 1793)

Family Staphylinidae
gen. sp. indet.

Family Dermestidae
Dermestes sp.

Family Tenebrionidae
Apsena laticornis Casey, 1851
Apsena pubescens (LeConte, 1851)
Apsena rufipes Eschscholtz, 1829
Apsena sp.
Coniontis abdominalis LeConte, 1859
Coniontis elliptica Casey, 1884
Coniontis remnans Pierce, 1954
Coniontis lamentabilis Blaisdell, 1924
Coniontis robusta Horn, 1870
Coniontis rugosa Casey, 1908
Coniontis sp.
Cratidus osculans LeConte
Cratidus sp.
Eleodes acuticaudus LeConte, 1851
Eleodes acuticaudus punctata Blaisdell, 1909
Eleodes borealis Blaisdell, 1909
Eleodes consobrina LeConte, 1851
Eleodes dentipes Eschscholtz, 1829
Eleodes dentipes elegans Casey, 1890
Eleodes dentipes pertenuis Blaisdell, 1909
Eleodes distans Blaisdell, 1909
Eleodes gigantea meridionalis Blaisdell, 1918
Eleodes grandicollis grandicollis Mannerheim, 1843
Eleodes grandicollis Mannerheim, 1843, subspp.
Eleodes laticollis LeConte, 1851
Eleodes laticollis, var.
Eleodes omissus LeConte, 1858
Eleodes omissus omissus LeConte, 1858
Eleodes o. pygmaea Blaisdell, 1909
Eleodes  osculans (LeConte)
Eleodes  punctata Blaisdell, 1909
Eleodes sp.
Nyctoporis carinata LeConte, 1851
Nyctoporis sp.

Family Zopheridae
Noserus plicatus LeConte, 1859
Phloeodes pustulosus LeConte, 1859
Phloeodes sp.

Family Scarabaeidae
Canthon simplex LeConte, 1857
Canthon praticola LeConte, 1859
Copris pristinus Pierce, 1947
Copris sp.
Onthophagus everestae Pierce, 1947
Onthophagus sp.
Phanaeus labreae (Pierce, 1947)
Phileurus illatus LeConte, 1854
Serica kanakoffi Pierce, 1947
Trox gemmulatus Horn, 1874
Trox suberosus (Fabricius, 1775)

Family Heteroceridae
Heterocerus sp.

Family Dryopidae
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Elateridae
Acolus sp.
Anchastus cinereipennis (Eschscholtz, 1829)
Aplastus sp.
Cardiophorus sp.
Dalopius spp.
Limonius sp.
Melanotus sp.
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Coccinellidae
Coccinella californica Mannerheim, 1843

Family Anthicidae
Notoxus sparsus LeConte, 1859

Family Chrysomelidae
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Cerambycidae
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Curculionidae
Apion sp.
Dinocleus sp.
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Scolytidae
Gnathotrichus sp.


Order Lepidoptera
gen. & sp. indet.


Order Diptera
Family Bibionidae
Dilophus sp.

Family Calliphoridae
Cochliomyia macellaria (Fabricius, 1775)
Cochliomyia sp.


Order Hymenoptera
Family Chalcididae
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Bethylidae
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Ichneumonidae
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Formicidae
Camponotus sp.
Camponotus cf. C. quericola M. Smith, 1953
Camponotus cf. C. vicinus Mayr, 1870
Formica moki Wheeler, 1906
Formica cf. F. moki Wheeler, 1906
Formica sp.
Pheidole sp.
Solenopsis sp.
Messor andrei (Mayr, 1886)
Messor sp.

Family Vespidae
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Pompilidae
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Cynipidae
Callirhytis sp.

Superfamily Apoidea
gen. & sp. indet.


CLASS BIVALVIA
Subclass Paleoheterodonta
Order Unionoida

Family Unionidae
Anodonta californiensis Lea, 1852


Subclass Heterodonta
Order Veneroida
Family Cardiidae
Trachycardium quadragenarium (Conrad, 1837) ‡
Laevicardium elatum (Sowerby, 1835) ‡

Family Donacidae
Donax gouldii Dall, 1921

Family Lucinidae
Epilucina californica (Conrad, 1837) ‡

Family Mactridae
Tresus nuttalli (Conrad, 1837) ‡

Family Pisidiidae 
Pisidium casertanum (Poli, 1795)
Pisidium compressum Prime, 1852
Musculium lacustre (Müller, 1774)
Musculium cf. M. partumeium (Say, 1822)

Family Veneridae
Transennella sp.
Tivela stultorum (Mawe, 1823) ‡
Saxidomus nuttalli Conrad, 1837 ‡
Chione californiensis (Broderip, 1835) ‡
Chione undatella (Sowerby, 1835) ‡


Order Myoida
Family Corbulidae
Corbula luteola Carpenter, 1864


Subclass Pteriomorphia
Order Pterioida

Family Ostreidae
Ostrea lurida Carpenter, 1864 ‡

Family Pectinidae
Argopecten circularus aequisulcatus (Carpenter,1864) ‡
gen. & sp. indet.


CLASS GASTROPODA
Subclass Prosobranchia
Order Archeogastropoda

Family Acmaeidae
Notacmaea insessa (Hinds, 1843)

Family Haliotidae
Haliotis rufescens Swainson, 1822 ‡

Family Trochidae
Lirularia optabilis (Carpenter, 1864) †

Family Turbinidae
Astraea undosa (Wood, 1828) ‡


Order Mesogastropoda
Family Hydrobiidae
Pyrogulopsis californiensis (Gregg and Taylor, 1965)

Family Lacunidae
Lacuna sp.

Family Naticidae
Lunatia lewisii (Gould, 1847) ‡

Family Rissoidae
Alvinia compacta (Carpenter, 1864)

Family Valvatidae
Valvata humeralis Say, 1829


Order Neogastropoda
Family Columbellidae
Mitrella carinata (Hinds, 1844)
Nassarina penicillata (Carpenter, 1864)

Family Olividae
Olivella baetica (Carpenter, 1864)
Olivella cf. O. biplicata (Sowerby, 1825)


Subclass Pulmonata
Order Basommatophora

Family Lymnaeidae
Fossaria modicella (Say, 1825)
Fossaria parva (Lea, 1841)
Fossaria  (Bakerilymnaeabulimoides (Lea, 1841)
Fossaria  (Bakerilymnaeacockerelli (Pilsbry and Ferris, 1906)
Fossaria  (Bakerilymnaea)  cubensis (Pfeiffer, 1839)
Fossaria  (Bakerilymnaeasonomaensis (Hemphill in Pilsbry and Ferris, 1906)
Stagnicola elodes (Say, 1821)
Stagnicola proxima (Lea, 1856)

Family Physidae
Physella concolor (Haldeman, 1841)

Family Planorbidae
Gyraulus circumstriatus (Tryon, 1866)
Gyraulus parvus (Say, 1824)
Planorbella tenuis (Dunker, 1850)
Menetus opercularis (Gould, 1847)


Order Stylommatophora
Family Discidae
Discus whitneyi (Newcomb, 1864)

Family Helminthoglyptidae
Helminthoglypta traskii (Newcomb, 1861)

Family Limacidae
Deroceras laeve (Müller, 1774)

Family Punctidae
Punctum californicum Pilsbry, 1898

Family Pupillidae
Pupilla hebes (Ancey, 1881)
Vertigo occidentalis Sterki, 1907

Family Succineidae
gen. & sp. indet.

Family Urocoptidae
Holospira sp.

Family Valloniidae
Vallonia cyclophorella Sterki, 1892

Family Zonitidae
Zonitoides arboreus (Say, 1816)
Striatura pugetensis (Dall, 1895)