Sunday, July 24, 2011

More from the porch at Cambria (updated 8-18-2011)

beetle
This was a pretty good-sized beetle. (It would have been shrimpy next to that prionus beetle, though!) It was hard getting a good shot of it in the dark. If you look carefully, you'll see little brown ovals around his head. I'll warn you now, there's a yucky shot coming up.
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The ick factor increases..
This beetle is beset with parasites. Ticks? Mites? Something like that. Icky.

Update!  Thanks to this post by Margarethe Brummermann, I was able to identify this beetle as Nicrophorus nigrita, the black burying beetle.  What does it bury?  Dead animals, which it uses to feed its larvae.  And those mites?  They're not harmful to the beetle, just hitching a ride. (see this BugGuide thread)

And I'll digress now to say that both Jerry and I "collected" ticks on our walks along the grassy coastal bluffs. But do you think I would have the presence of mind to take pictures of them? Uh, no. Sorry. It was just "Eww, a tick? Get it off me!" and I picked, flicked and sighed with relief that at least none of them latched on for a meal. How can I pick up a great big beetle (okay it was dead but still...) and still freak out over a tiny tick? Beats me.

10 lined june beetle
This lovely 10-lined June beetle came to the light the same night as the beetle with the ticks/mites. But like the smaller June beetles we get at home, it landed clumsily on its back and struggled to right itself. I flipped it over and took this picture.

by dawn's early light
In the morning, I found it resting on the top of the sheet. By late afternoon, I found only a piece of its striped shell, apparently having been eaten by a bird. In fact, by the 3rd night with the black light, the birds had pretty much figured out that I was setting up a banquet for them, and they would happily pick off whatever was left hanging around by dawn.

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