Length: 8.5-14.5 mm
This black beetle has sharply ridged elytra, and a large pronotum that angles downward from its base. The elytral apex is rounded in males, but in females it appears diagonal when viewed from above.
Oiceoptoma inaequalis has an unusual defense. When it flies, it holds its elytra over its back like a resting butterfly. The undersides of the elytra are thus exposed and are bright metallic blue, and they make the insect appear much bigger than it really is. When the beetle lands it puts the elytra down, and the large metallic blue area disappears. Any predator that had been following the apparently large blue metallic beetle would be confused by its sudden disappearance.
In 1919 M.T. Goe documented the life cycle of this species. Among the findings:
- One female was observed to lay 62 eggs over a 36 day period. Eggs were laid in the soil.
- Eggs hatched about 6 days after being laid.
- The larval period lasted about 22 days; there were three instars.
- The third instar larva went into the soil and pupated, emerging 17-20 days later.
- The adults overwintered.
As with other Carrion Beetles, the larvae feed on carrion while adults usually feed on the larvae of flies that are feeding on carrion.
Another species of this genus found in West Virginia is Oiceoptoma noveboracense.
Insects of West Virginia