Monday, January 14, 2013

Carabidae Unique to the Pacific Northwest: 1) Cychrini

The Pacific Northwest from space
         If you've spent time studying Ground beetles in the Americas, you're likely to know about how unique the Ground beetle fauna is along the Pacific northwest; states such as Alaska, western Washington and Oregon, and most of California (especially the northern part), northern Idaho, and of course, BC. During my last 18 months of more directly studying these fascinating insects, I have significantly increased the representation of Pacific northwest Carabidae in my private collection. With a camera at my finger tips the last few weeks in Utah, I had been growing more and more fond of the idea to do a post that briefly reviews some of the many Ground dwellers unique to the Pacific northwest and surrounding areas sharing a similar ecosystem.


Scaphinotus (Brennus) cristatus - Scaphinotus cristatus
Scaphinotus (Brennus) cristatus (Harris, 1839)
The sub genus Brennus of the Snail-eating Scaphinotus have always been fun to
encounter in California. I have collected several of the 15 or so species therein.
The specimen above is Scaphinotus cristatus. I collected a series of this species
(along with a few other species in the same sub genus) at night in a beach side
forest back in June in San Luis Obispo County, California. The sub genus ranges
from Baja California north to Alaska where one species, S. B. marginatus ranges
east to Montana; however, most species are restricted to California.

Cychrus tuberculatus Harris, 1839
Throughout all America, the genus Cychrus, or Rare Snail-eaters,
only occurs in the northwestern mixed forests. Two species are
included; C. tuberculatus (restricted to the coastal states and BC.)
and C. hemphillii Horn 1878 (similar range to C. tuberculatus
with one subspecies in se. Idaho and nw. Utah).

Scaphinotus angusticollis (Mannerheim, 1824)
One other sub genus that only occurs in the Northwest is Stenocantarus.
 The species above, S. angusticollis, is found throughout the northwest while
the other two species have a CA and OR range. the diversity in S. angusticollis
can easily trick you into thinking some individuals are different species.

Of course, there are other species of Snail-eaters in the Pacific northwest, plenty; none that I will go over because of the time investment required. I plan to review some of the higher taxa of the Pacific northwest Carabidae in future posts like such, though.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful pictures, and blog Jonathon. I found it by accident searching for a Carabidae beetle my biology student found that I was trying to identify. I came upon your photograph of Cychrus tuberculatus, and I'm pretty sure that's it. I'll send you a picture if you like.
    -Jerry Burke, Medford, OR