Saturday, September 8, 2012

Scaphinotus (Brennus) subtilis

          One of the first Beetles I collected that sparked my interest in Ground Beetles was a snail eater. I found two of them under a log by a high elevation stream in central California. At a staggering 2 cm, this species is definitely one of the larger species from it's genus.

                                                        Scaphinotus (Brennus) subtilis

The species from this subgenus can often be distinguished by just it's elytra, but to be safe I wouldn't recommend this strategy unless you're highly familiar with this group and it's included species.  To be clear, I am no expert which is why I ran it through the key despite my previous belief that this was S.b. striatopunctatus. The differences are very minor, yet, vital.

Right elytron of S.b.subtilis
Note: Incomplete striations of eletra,
with rows of punctures.

Right elytron of S.b.striatopunctatus
Note: Striations complete,
with intercepting punctures.
Thank you to Gidaspow, Tatiana's "A revision of the ground beetles belonging to Scaphinotus, subgenus Brennus (Coleoptera, Carabidae)."

The subgenus Brennus, includes 15 species. 14 of which can be found in California, nine of which only found in California, and all but one only found along the west coast. This particular species is California endemic. When I read this, I reconsidered how privileged I am to be a Californian Coleopterist. While the state isn't teaming with insect life at first glance, it still contains 115 of North America's 127 counted Beetle families. While a part of this must be due to it's size, an even larger contributing factor is it's highly unique, geological physique. With this said, this state is home to a variety of endemic species and much larger taxa.

In the near future, I plan on moving to Arizona in hopes of increasing representation of Ground Beetles, Tiger Beetles, Jewel Beetles and Leaf Beetles in the J.W.Quist Collection. All of which the state exhibits suburb diversity in. An insect enthusiast/photographer/watercolor painter who portrays Arizona's beauty incredibly well is Margarethe Brummermann. You can find the link to her blog under my Bug Blogs list. All in all, wildlife can be found everywhere people are found. I've discover that the more I know about wildlife, the more I find out about people. The two coexist and thereby must interfere and/or effect one another. (Not to say people aren't animals!) I have nothing but enthusiasm toward my future (hopefully long and prosperous) life as a Naturalist.

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