Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Best of Bycids

          Yesterday, Sam and I had the opportunity to pay Bill Tyson a visit. Sam had a couple boxes of Click beetles he had identified for him, but I went on the trip not only because Sam, my Grandpa and I were going to Yosemite National Park after, but because I enjoy meeting other entomologists and had received word of his impressive collection of Longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae) he has collected and/or acquired from around the world.

Bill standing next to his collection of Longhorn beetles.

Aside from being a truly delightful person and allowing me to take a peak at some of his bugs, he granted me permission to share (brag about) this experience with you. With the first drawer he pulled out I gasped; I had seen many impressive Bycids online, in books and a good amount in other collections, but there was something about seeing the actual specimens in an experts collection that was breath taking. I'm sure you other bug enthusiasts can relate. I was about to pull out my camera before I realized that there were dozens of other drawers with specimens that were photo-worthy. I had to prioritize my time and only take pictures of the easy targets. Here are only a few of the best Bycids: 
 

 A drawer of flightless Longhorns in the tribe Dorcadionini resemble
Darkling beetles that are found in the hills of Europe and neighboring lands.
 
 
Psalidognathus friendi Gray, 1831
Male and Female.
 
 
Cheloderus childreni Gray in Griffith, 1832
This Longhorn, almost resembling a Jewel beetle, is now treated
 as a member of the family Oxypeltidae rather than Cerambycidae.
 
 
Macrodontia cervicornis (Linnaeus, 1758)
This is one of the largest beetles by length. It's mandibles
and fire-like elytra give it quite the impressive appearance!
 
 
Titanus giganteus (Linnaeus, 1771)
By legnth, this is the largest species of Longhorns without the mandibles. I
made the mistake of comparing them to my giant hand in the photograph; Which
is 8.5 inches from where my wrist ends to the tip of my middle finger. This
would make the specimen in the center almost 6 inches long!! The very unit tray it
wrests in is 1/4 the size of a Cornell drawer. To the right you can see the species
Derobrachus hoverei. This is one of North America's largest Longhorns and
it is outright dwarfed by the Central American Titanus giganteus.
 

I only wish I could have spent more time photographing some of the smaller gems! I saw a pair of a species that were clearly mimicking Tiger beetles of the tribe Collyridini, many Lepturinae (my favorite subfamily) and so so sooo many others. Bill and his life's work have given me a greater appreciation for this much more diverse than I had previously thought family. I expect that there will be many more Longhorn posts in the future!

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