Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cool beetles

As I mentioned earlier, many insects here are bigger and more colorful than those at home. I was walking on a trail near the edge of a forest, when I spied what looked like a big wasp flying by me. Naturally, I netted it and was incredibly surprised to find this in my net.

Long-horned beetle, Nov 14, 2011
Interestingly, it stridulated the whole time it was in the net as well as when I grabbed it. Stridulation is the production of sound by rubbing parts of their body together though I don't exactly know which part it was on this guy (on grasshoppers/crickets it is the wings). The stridulations were high pitched and almost bee-like, which I think may be a form of mimicry, I certainly thought that with the orange body and long legs, it was a wasp and though I did not hear it until later, that may only add to its display. (see here for an older post that discussed bumblebee mimicry in another beetle).

The last picture I took before it zipped away. 
To hear stridulating, the easiest species to find is the red milkweed beetle which occurs on common milkweed basically wherever it occurs. Pick it up and lightly squeeze it and it will cry out! I tell children that it is telling me to let go, and then when they all get a chance to hear it, I say "ok" and let it fly away.

Ceroglossus sp. (magellanicus?)
That picture shows a big, beautiful ground-beetle (Carabidae) that I have found a couple of. I'll detail these guys more, as they are a well-studied genus and quite awesome, but I was excited enough that I figured I'd share it now.

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