First report of a dung beetle (Canthon cyanellus LeConte) found in an offering of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan


We report for the first time, the presence of a species of dung beetle recovered from an offering found at the foot of the staircase of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan. The dung beetle specimen was found on a copal (aromatic resin) ball and was identified as female of Canthon cyanellus, a copro-necrophagous scarab (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) by the presence of 4 clipeal teeth (exclusive characteristic of this species) and because its last abdominal sternite is continuous (characteristic of females). This species lives in tropical forests in the coastal plains of Mexico. A previous phylogeographic study of this species using nuclear and mithocondrial DNA molecular markers give us the possibility to explore the geographic precedence of the archeological beetle. We extracted DNA of the femur of the right posterior leg of the beetle. Only the sequences of the nuclear gene Internal Transcribed Spacer Region 2 (ITS2) were successfully sequenced. Mapping the nDNA sequence of the archaeological beetle in the genealogical reconstruction of Canthon cyanellus in Mexico, we found that its belongs to the lineage formed with populations from the Pacific. This is the first molecular study in demonstrating the route from the Pacific coasts to the center of the Mexica Empire.

Cite this Record

First report of a dung beetle (Canthon cyanellus LeConte) found in an offering of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan. Mario Favila, Leonardo López Luján, Janet Nolasco Soto, María Barajas Rocha, Erika Lucero Robles Cortés. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429852)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14295