Summer Summary

As the Bug Season winds down, the BugLady would like to celebrate summer by sharing a baker’s dozen of the pictures she’s taken in the past few months.

Tortoise Beetle (Family Chrysomelidae)

Tortoise Beetles belong to the Leaf beetle family Chrysomelidae, a huge 1,700+ species in North America alone. As their names suggest, this is a bunch of plant eaters who are often very attached to a single species or group of plant species.

Checkered Beetle (Family Cleridae)

Checkered Beetles live in a variety of habitats in North America (there are about 3,500 species worldwide). As a group they are small-ish, hairy, long and narrow, and brightly-patterned. CBs can be seen on flowers and in trees. Most species are meat eaters as both larvae and adults—the majority hunt on and under the bark of trees; some sit on flowers or sap flows and prey on visiting insects; still others consume insect eggs and a few are scavengers.

Glowworm Beetle (Family Phengodidae)

Glowworm Beetles are in the glowworm beetle family Phengodidae, a New World family of about 250 species with representatives living from the southern edge of Canada all the way to Chile. Most species live south of the Rio Grande. Other common names include “glow-worms” (a name shared with larval Lightning beetles) and “railroad worms.”

Forked Fungus Beetle (Family Tenebrionidae)

The Forked Fungus Beetle is in the Darkling beetle family Tenebrionidae and is the only species in its genus. It’s found east of the Mississippi, at night, in the woods, in the company of woody, polypore shelf fungi. All stages of the beetle live and overwinter and reproduce and feed in/on woody shelf fungi.

June Bug Redux (Family Scarabaeidae)

The BugLady is dusting off and sprucing up a BOTW from six years ago. A clarification: a number of different genera of beetles in various regions of America are also popularly called June bugs/May beetles (and there’s even a conspicuous on-line image of a Japanese beetle, genus Popillia, labeled as a June beetle). Our June bugs, in the genus Phyllophaga, are the real ones.

Longhorns without Bios (Family Cerambycidae)

It’s a large family, with more than 20,000 species worldwide and 1,200 species north of the Rio Grande, and it’s divided into eight subfamilies. Many LongHorns are economically important because their larvae bore into dead/dying/cut wood, lowering its value as timber (but aiding in the recycling of the forest).

Flat-headed Poplar Borer (Family Buprestidae)

Today’s star is a metallic wood boring beetle called (probably) the Flatheaded Poplar Borer (Dicerca tenebrica—unless it’s D. divaricata, the Flatheaded Hardwood Borer). There are about 25 species in the genus, and the tips of their elytra (the hard covers that protect the flying wings) are longish, a tad blunt, and slightly separated or flared at their tips.

European Elm Bark Beetle (Family Curculionidae)

The European Elm Bark Borer (Scolytus multistriatus), a.k.a the Dutch elm weevil, a.k.a. the Smaller European elm bark beetle, is an alien that was first observed in the U.S. in 1909, though it undoubtedly arrived earlier. Surveys in 1933 found the beetles clustered around the seaports of Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia.

Two Shiny Beetles (Family Phalacridae)

Shiny Flower Beetles appeared in the first half of August, covering goldenrods and a few other members of the Aster/Composite family. SFBs produce a single generation a year, timed to coincide with the flowering of their favorite composite. Red Sumac Leaf Beetles larvae travel about in cases made from their own fecal material. Females oviposit in the leaf litter, the larvae eat dead leaves and grow there spending the winter deep under the insulating leaves.