Spectra Undergraduate Research Journal


Health & Natural Sciences, & Engineering > Natural Sciences > Life Sciences > Ecology > Entomology


January 13, 2023


February 7, 2023


June 15, 2023


Cosset Hernandez Pena (CHP)1*, Mandy Mountain (MM)1, and Daniel Thompson, Ph.D. (DT)1

Author Affiliations

1School of Life Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, USA.

Corresponding Author

*Cosset Hernandez Pena, cosset.hernandez@unlv.edu

Corresponding Author ORCID iD


Author Contributions

CHP: Contributed to conceptualization and construction of research project, data collection, data interpretation, drafting, editing, and finalizing manuscript.

MM: Contributed to conceptualization and construction of research project, collection of materials, data interpretation, and providing references used in manuscript.

DT: Contributed to conceptualization of research project, data interpretation, providing statistical data, reviewing and editing manuscript.

Data Availability Statement

The author of this article confirms that the information used in the literature is fully available without restrictions.

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares that no conflicts of interest exist.

Ethical Considerations

Given that this research project involved an invertebrate species, no IRB or IACUC approval was necessary.


This research was made possible by the funding provided by the LSAMP Summer Research Institute.


Differences in the composition of aeolian sand at Big Dune and sand at Lava Dune that is mixed with basalt and various minerals may affect water retention and the development of insects that are specialized for living in sand environments. These two dunes, located in Nye County, Nevada, are home to the endemic dune scarab beetle, Pseudocotalpa giulianii (PSGU). The differences in sand type may influence the growth patterns of the eggs and larvae of this beetle species that hatches and develops to an adult within the sand. The purpose of this experiment is to test whether sand composition affects hatch success of PSGU eggs as well as the growth and survivability of PSGU larvae that have successfully hatched. The data analyzed indicate that there are altered conditions of growth for PSGU larvae between sand types, with Lava Dune sand causing increased larval growth rate and body mass, though it is yet unknown what causes the observed differences in growth and size patterns.


Pseudocotalpa giulianii, Big Dune, Lava Dune, Giuliani Dune Scarab, PSGU

Submission Type

Primary research article