Some of you may recognize the first beetle I saw 1/1/2017. It’s a Firefly enjoying the sun on a beech tree! (Possibly a Winter Firefly, Ellychnia corrusca, per Warren Steiner.) Please note: For the next several days I will share photos of my New Year’s Day hike through Chapman Forest in Charles County, MD. I never dreamed I’d be beetle-hunting. But I had the great good fortune of hiking with Warren Steiner, one of the Smithsonian’s beetle experts. He was determined to find beetles and he did! He searched through bark, logs, mushrooms and mullein roots, sandy beaches and cliffs. He even shook branches full of leaves to see who might fall out. He found lots of tiny holes where beetle larvae had emerged earlier in 2016.
Included in Warren’s many other beetle finds was a click beetle. Per Steiner, “the click beetle with orange-sided thorax is Lacon discoideus http://bugguide.net/node/view/45171/bgimage found under bark of pine stump.”
Interesting how similar the two appear at first. But if you look carefully you start to see differences. I’ve only seen black click beetles before.
Shared by Jim Long from Charles Darwin’s autobiography about another beetle walk long ago:
“I will give a proof of my zeal: one day on tearing off some old bark, I saw two rare beetles and seized one in each hand; then I saw a third and new kind, which I could not bear to lose, so that I popped the one which I held in my right hand into my mouth. Alas it ejected some intensely acrid fluid, which burnt my tongue so that I was forced to spit the beetle out, which was lost, as well as the third one”.
Hope you had a wonderful 1/1/17. Can you top beetle-hunting as the most unusual way to start the new year? Please let me know and please share my blog with your friends.