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Scarabs, a member of the Scarabaeidae family of beetles, which have often become associated with magic, power, or divinity.

Scarabs have long been viewed with reverence by many human cultures, with the Trope Maker being Egyptian Mythology, making this trope Older Than Dirt. They come in many different shapes, with the iconic one being the Sacred Scarab Beetle, Scarabaeus sacer.

Whenever a scarab beetle appears, it is usually being shown as something of importance, power, magical or some manner of divine. Or when the thing is based on a scarab, implying the same. If something, or someone is using a Scarab as their name or symbol, expect them to be powerful, or important to the story.

A note: Japanese Beetle Brothers is a related trope to this, but might not be incredibly obvious at first glancenote , so there may often be some overlap between the two.

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Sometimes overlaps with Thunder Beetle.


Examples:

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     Comic Books  

  • The superhero Blue Beetle takes his name from a scarab amulet that Adventurer Archaeologist Dan Garrett, the first Blue Beetle, found in a pyramid and which gave him magical superpowers. His successor, Ted Kord, could never get the amulet to work, so became a Gadgeteer Genius instead. The amulet subsequently passed into the hands of Jaime Reyes, who discovered its full potential, leading to the revelation that the source of its power is not magic but advanced alien technology.
  • In Red Robin Tim discovers that his longtime foe the Egyptian assassin who goes by Scarab belongs to a small order all of whom have similar powered armor to her own and who claim to have been around for quite a while. The question of whether or not their inspiration for the armor was the same alien artifact which gives Blue Beetle his power is left unanswered.
  • In Project Superpowers, the Golden Age hero the Scarab got his powers from a scarab-shaped ring. On the other hand, when Amon Khadul found the ring in modern times, he received no powers from it and thus sold it, but made a fortune on the sale, which he used to buy his way into the The Supremacy, the shadowy group which secretly controls the world. After realizing how evil they were, he then created a superhero identity for himself - the Scarab.

     Film - Animated  

  • Aladdin has the Golden Scarab Beetle locating the Cave of Wonders. Although it looks like a hand-sized robot, its two main components (which must be put together to work in the first place) form the tiger head-shaped guardian's eyes. They reappear whenever the Cave deems their summoners unworthy of getting the magical lamp. It's worth noting many box arts have this artifact located at their very center, hinting its key importance to the plot.
    • Inverted in the Aladdin television series. Mechanicles has invented a robot scarab merely because he needs a mode of transportation and happens to like the tidiness and industry of the animals. In other words, a hater of magic uses a symbol of magic in a roundabout way.

     Live Action TV  

  • Classic The Twilight Zone episode "Queen of the Nile". Movie actress Pamela Morris lures men to her and steals their Life Energy with a magical scarab beetle in order to maintain her eternal youth.
  • This trope along with its cousin readily shows up in Kamen Rider, as the franchise often has a preference for insect themes.
  • An episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? featured an Egyptian woman who attained a sort of quasi-immortality by transforming into a scarab and sleeping in a special amber broach every night. When the broach was destroyed, she turned to dust.

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     Literature  

  • In Harry Potter scarab beetles are mentioned in the Goblet of Fire and are used in healing and wit-sharpening potions.

     Music  

  • The logo for Journey features a scarab beetle, starting with Departure.

     Mythology and Religion  

  • Egyptian Mythology: Pretty much the Trope Maker and Ur-Example. To the Ancient Egyptians, the scarab beetle (specifically the species Scarabaeus sacer) was a symbol of Khepri, the early morning manifestation of the sun god Ra, from an analogy between the beetle's behaviour of rolling a ball of dung across the ground and Khepri's task of rolling the sun across the sky.They accordingly held the species to be sacred. The Egyptians also observed young beetles emerging from the ball of dung, from which they mistakenly inferred that the female beetle was able to reproduce without needing a male. From this, they drew parallels with their god Atum, who also begat children alone.

     Tabletop Games  

  • In Dungeons & Dragons many artifacts, creatures or magic involve or are named after Scarabs. A few examples are the Scarab of Protection (a medallion that absorbs energy-draining attacks), the Golembane Scarab (a pin that allows the detection of Golems, and ignoring of their damage resistance) and the Scarab of Death (a cursed pin that will kill anyone holding it for more than one round).
    • Particularly notorious are the Hoard Scarabs. A hoard scarab is an eyeless, beetlelike creature that hides in piles of treasure. Thanks to its size and its silver or golden shell, it looks much like a coin when dormant (though close observation reveals its nature). A swarm resembles a pile of gold and silver pieces. If it bites a character, that character makes a reflex save. If the reflex save under 11 (14 if a swarm) it burrows into the character. When it's burrowed in a character that character takes 1d2 (2d4 for a swarm) points of Constitution damage per round. It stays inside until remove disease or heal is cast upon the afflicted character.
  • In Pathfinder, the Scarab Sages are an Ancient Tradition of Egyptian-inspired priests and wizards who seek the ancient secrets to create a better future. They picked the scarab as their symbol to invoke wisdom and ancient power.
    • Unsurprisingly, when the actual deities of Egypt, er, sorry, Osirion appear, they also wear and decorate with scarab motifs.
  • In Warhammer 40,000 the Scarab Occult, also known as the Sekhmet and Magnus's Veterans, were the veteran Space Marines of the Thousand Sons Legion who served as the Primarch Magnus the Red's elite honour guard. They were made up of the best and brightest of the Thousand Sons Legion's Astartes and were equipped with crimson and ivory Terminator Armour, with jade scarabs on their breastplates denoting their status.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!
    • The game features an Insect Monster card called the "Neo-Spacian Flare Scarab". At base its incredibly weak (a three star monster with only 500 attack and defense points), but its special ability grants it an additional 400 attack points for every magic or trap card your opponent controls. This means (including the possibility of a Field Magic Card) Flare Scarab can gain up to 2400 additional attack points, giving it a total possible attack stat of 2900!
    • There is also a card called "Swarm of Scarabs", again very weak at base (three stars with only 500/1000 for its stats) but has a special ability that when it is Flip Summoned it does a One-Hit Kill on any one of your opponent's monsters. To top it off, "Swarm of Scarabs" has a second special ability that allows it to be turned back face-down once per turn, meaning that as long as it isn't destroyed it can keep killing an opponent's monster once per turn.
  • The Scarab in Freedom City is a reincarnating hero with mystic powers and an Ancient Egyptian origin, something like Doctor Fate with Hawkman's origin. The "Future Freedom" Scarab in Worlds of Freedom gets his powers from a scarab-shaped amulet, like the Dan Garrett Blue Beetle.

     Toys  

     Video Games  

  • In the Avadon series, Scarabs are equippable artifacts that bind themselves to the user and give them special powers, either passive or usable abilities.
  • In Blood 2, the Ward and Necroward talismans, which provide protection from damage, are in the form of scarab beetles.
  • Halo: The Covenant Scarab. A Spider Tank (actually a massive congregation of Hunter worms) which is one of the most devastating land vehicles in the entire setting.
  • Smite, featuring many mythologies, obviously features this. In fact, as seen above, a scarab is a part of the symbol for the Egyptian Pantheon, as well as the fact that Khepri himself is one of the deities in it now.
  • In StarCraft, scarabs are the Action Bombs created as the primary armament of Reavers, segmented robots similar in appearance to a pillbug. How the alien Protoss know what a scarab is is not explained.
  • Warcraft and World of Warcraft: Spiderlords, and their undead counterparts, Crypt Lords are heavily based on scarabs in Egyptian mythology, being mummified and reanimated beetle-mantis-spider mashups. Their names are all vaguely related to Egyptian mythology (Anub'arak, Thebis-Ra, Pharoh-moth...), one of their abilities generates a huge beetle from a corpse, and their faces have a spike invoking the false beards on royal funerary masks.
    • By extension of this, Nyx Assassin is also inspired by scarabs of Egyptian Myth. Crixalis the Sand King as well, though less so (as he's more of a scorpion)
  • Three of the four beetle-themed Mavericks in the Mega Man X series - Boomer Kuwanger (stag beetle), Gravity Beetle (rhinoceros beetle) and Ground Scaravich (dung beetle) - are in fact all based on scarabs. This leaves only Izzy Glow (firefly) as the only non-scarab beetle, and is the only instance where so many of a certain Maverick theme (beetles, fish, cats, etc.) have all been of such a specific grouping.
  • In LEGO Dimensions, one of the Foundation Elements is a Diamond Scarab from the world of Scooby-Doo. The Diamond Scarab on its own at first seems to grant a mummy powers like summoning creatures, though in reality, the "mummy" was actually Lord Vortech who uses his own powers as a part of a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing's "Actually Ed the Undying" challenge path, one of the skills Ed can learn is "Storm of the Scarab", which deals damage in all elements simultaneously. He can also buy Healing Scarabs, which restore his HP, and if you bought the Bottle of Lovebug Pheromones, he can summon a Love Scarab to stun the enemy and steal MP.
  • In Bayonetta 2, Secret Character Rosa, Bayonetta's mother has a contract with a powerful demoness named Madama Khepri, an enormous scarab woman. She also fits this trope to the letter, being associated with magic by binding herself to an Umbra Witch, divinity by being described as a Goddess of Inferno, and power by way of having dominion over time and the sun.
  • In Warframe, the Egyptian-themed Inaros' ultimate ability is the ability to sacrifice his health to summon Scarabs that serve as armor as well as being able to be sent out to drain health from nearby enemies.

     Real Life  

  • The Scarab are a brand/line of high performance power boats and fishing boats.
  • Scarab is the name of a Formula One race car constructor owned by Lance Reventlow.
  • The NATO reporting name for the Russian OTR-21 Tochka short-ranged tactical ballistic missile is the "Scarab SS-21".
  • In his book Synchronicity, Carl Jung relates an anecdote about a scarab beetle flying in at his window just as a patient was relating a dream she'd had which also involved a scarab beetle.

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