Bess beetles, such as this horned passulus, are often called patent leather beetles because of their shiny bodies. All stages of this beetle live in colonies in well rotted wood.
According to the Kaufman Field Guide to the Insects of North America, larvae and adults communicate with sounds made by rubbing body parts together. The authors also report that 14 different calls have been recorded.
Art Evans, author of Field Guide to the Insects and Spiders of North America, states that larvae and adults rely on microorganisms in their digestive tract to digest wood.