Why not start with a bang? Here are my favorite Arizona beetles, and what dashing specimens they are to behold. You should recognize this first species from my banner at the top of the page.
Aptly named the Glorious Beetle, Chrysina gloriosa looks too spectacular to be a real animal. After looking at hundreds of thousands of beetles for a project as an undergrad, I decided that this species was by far my favorite. They were mixed in with tropical species, and I did not pay much attention to the locality label (since it obviously wasn't from Canada)... so I was quite surprised to see several specimens come to a black light our first night in Arizona! A few were still hanging around the next morning, so I of course took as many photos as I could. They have a lot of character to match their metallic sheen. Another beetle deserving of mention is the Hercules beetle, Dynastes granti.
Again, I was ill prepared in terms of what magnificent beetles I would encounter in Arizona. Somehow I did not manage to get any good photos of them in the daylight, but here is one male near the blacklight he was attracted to. While their appearance is impressive, they are quite slow and clumsy. A bit scarier was the Dynastes grub I discovered under a log! I wish I could have kept it to raise into adulthood.