Saturday, September 28, 2013

Awesome Beetles From an Awesome Sister

      Over the past two or three years, as my passion and attention toward entomology has grown, my older Sister, Rebecca Quist, has been ever-so-kind to collect beetles for me on her own outdoor adventures. She studied field biology at Utah State, has spent a year in Randolph, Utah studying the nesting sights for Sage Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), and is now working as a nanny in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. During her numerous expeditions into the field, she has collected hundreds of beetle specimens and new species for my own collection while still taking the time and care to write locality labels for each spot she samples from. Almost every single one of these locations are places I've never collected at, and many, such as the northeastern states, I might not collect in for many years.

As the collecting is slowing down this year, I'd like to do a post highlighting her truly thoughtful efforts by sharing a small handful of uncommon, out of my area, or interesting beetles I've mounted from the vials she's sent me.

Cychrus h.hemphillii
Horn, 1878

In the boundaries of least common and most geographically restricted, the specimen of C. hemphillii she collected at the beginning of this month takes first place.

When I was vacationing in Utah County from late August to early September, I made two failed attempts to find this rare snail-eater in the canyons near Orem and Provo, then once again in Logan Canyon. The locality near Mt. Timpanogos from where I knew it occurred is generally visited by enough people to make me stay away. It was quite disappointing when I came up empty handed, actually. It was already the end of its seasonal occurrence, and I will be moving out of the area for a couple years come early next summer-likely just before they become active again. But, to my great surprise, Becca had sent me a text on my train ride back to California telling me she collected a few beetles for me while on a family picnic. This picnic just happened to be at the more visited locality for C. hemphillii, so I responded by thanking her and asking for more details on the bugs she caught, and if any had slender heads and where found on the ground. She responded and told me that there was one matching that description, and that she found under a log. I knew it really couldn't be anything else, but she sent me a picture of it in the vial over text anyway. Thank you Becca!

Cicindela d. decemnotata
Say, 1817

This is another incredible species she's happened upon. This time, from Randolph, Utah in May of last year. This tiger beetle (Badlands Tiger Beetle) occurs in western NA from Utah and western Colorado north to western Alaska. Recently there have been four subspecies described(1), with three of the four occurring in Utah, one of which (Cicindela d. bonnevillensis), exclusively found in Tooele County. C.d.decimnotata is the widest ranging subspecies, but is still among the lesser collected tiger beetles.

Pseudogaurotina cressoni
(Bland, 1864)
Utah, Rich County
May 2012

Xyloryctes jamaicensis
(Drury, 1773)
New York, Fishers Island
August 2013, Female

Necrophilia americana
(Linnaeus, 1759)

An eastern entomologist or forensic biologist might recognize this carrion beetle immediately as the American Carrion Beetle, not to be confused with the American Burying Beetle, Nicrophorus americanus, as the latter is endangered. This handsome Silphid, being of a different genus, is indeed not an endangered species. In North America we only have one of the twenty or so species in the genus Nicrophilia. As an American collector who is pretty interested in carrion beetles, it is fitting that I should have this species in my collection.

 Enoclerus rosmarus
(Say, 1823) 

Because I uncommonly collect/obtain checkered beetles (other than Trichodes ornatus), the ones I do have usually appeal to me and I try to get a name on them. Such was the case with this handsome species from Fishers Island, NY. I am not sure where she found it, but according to online pictures of this species, it is found on vegetation of various plant species.

My family 2013. Left to Right:
Jason DeVaney, Sharon Quist DeVaney, Jonathan Quist, Kathryn Quist, Rebecca Quist, Elsa Quist (My wonderful Mother), Maike Ostermann (attending high school while staying with my mother and younger sister in Orem, from Fröndenberg, Germany), Annika Quist, Serra HardyQuist, William HardyQuist.

It won't be uncommon to find posts here containing content on the beetles Becca has collected for me, as there are many. I am in the process of pinning and pointing hundreds of specimens from her still, but am making great headway with a couple hundred of them mounted within a few collaborating sessions. There are many other post-worth species yet to be blogged. I hope to have all of mine and her vials cleared out by March in preparation for an upcoming collecting trip to western Panama.

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