Saturday, October 13, 2012

What's a Beetle like you doing in a place like this?

          Last month, my Aunt was walking down a hallway in my house when she told me there was a beetle on the wall. It was night time, and because summer nights in Fresno are generally above 80 degrees F (quite frequently above 90) there are a few bugs you can find commonly at street and porch lights. Cyclocephala (Masked Chafers) were my guess, if it was the equally common but more stunning Polyphylla decemlineata (Ten-lined June Bug), I figured the response wouldn't be as calm. So got up from the computer to see what it might be, and I was baffled.

Polycaon stoutii (LeConte, 1853)

I had a encounter with this bazaar Bostrichid a couple weeks previous at a KOA campground, in San Luis Obispo County (SW of Fresno County). KOA campgrounds are pretty much outdoor hotels, in my eyes at least, but this spot had a wonderful variety of Beetles. I'll save this story for another time.

The question remained: How did this little guy end up in the middle of a city with over half a million people thriving in it? Well, after I did a little more research, I discovered these are notorious for destroying hardwoods anywhere they can find them. I was a little uneasy with the fact I found it in the house. The following weeks, I noticed a few others around the city.

Polycaon stoutii (LeConte, 1853)

The kept it alive until the following morning when it could be photographed. It is another one of those "Pretty, Common" beetles we can over look sometimes. This species is highly variable in size (approximately 1-2 cm), but almost all individuals would be considered a larger example of the family. I'm hoping this is an indication that next year I'll find the magnificent Dinapate wrightii. ;)

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