|Our beetle- Click pictures to enlarge|
- Note that my beetle pictures, like the Fiery Searcher, show long thin antennae and legs that are smooth. The wing covers are streaked with long furrows and scattered tiny pits.
- The Green June Beetle picture shows short broad antennae, clubbed at the end, and legs with curved spines on the tibia. Its wing covers are perfectly smooth.
|Fiery Searcher- Calosoma scrutator|
|Green June Beetle - Continis nitida|
|Note smooth legs,long antennae|
|Note wing cover grooves and pits|
The beetles of the Calosoma genus are large beetles which hunt caterpillars, both good and bad from our myopic human perspective. Most of the 167 known species are black but Calosoma scrutator is a colorful exception. It gets respect from its mandibles which nip prey, predators and unwary bipeds which pick them up. They also can produce a foul smelling spray from glands at the tip of their abdomen.
Both the beetles and their larvae climb trees in search of caterpillars. They are active from May, when the trees leaf out, through the fall. They winter as adults and can live up to three years.
An animal's role in nature is all in the eye of the beholder. The Fiery Searcher is generally considered a beneficial insect, eliminating destructive caterpillars although some lepidopterists and caterpillars may disagree.
|Click to enlarge|
**Shelly Cox writes my new favorite blog, http://mobugs.blogspot.com/. She started out as a Missouri Department of Conservation volunteer in 2003 and lost her "amateur status" when she was hired by MDC as a Naturalist in January of this year. She posts to her blog with regularity and she has the advantage over me of knowing what she writes about (although this weakness will not stop me from writing).