Water Penny (Family Psephenidae)

Water pennies are the larvae of riffle beetles. Water pennies live underwater on rocks in rapid currents—an unusual habitat for a beetle, but one that offers some protection from predators. Adult riffle beetles can be found in the water or basking on rocks and logs just above the water line. The adults are hairy, ¼inch beetles; the larvae, called water pennies for their shape and color, look like well-camouflaged, tiny, suction cups.

Darkling Beetle (Family Tenebrionidae)

Darkling beetles are small-to-medium-sized, dark, slow-moving beetles. Their elytra are often grooved and/or pitted. Both the adults and larvae are nocturnal scavengers on “dead” material like clothing, rugs, stored foods, and plant and insect collections as well as on rotting wood and fungi. There are about 1,200 species of darkling beetles in North America mostly in the West.

Whirligig Beetle (Family Gyrinidae)

Looking like dark watermelon seeds, mobs of whirligig beetles scoot across the still waters of ponds, lakes, streams and rivers. Their basic design is a short antennae, elytra that end before the abdomen does, the ability to secrete a smelly substance that deters predators, and a shiny, black finish. They row with their flattened and fringed middle and hind pairs of legs, and they hold their front pair of legs forward, ready to grasp their prey.

Japanese Beetle (Family Scarabaeidae)

The Japanese Beetle is a chunky half inch of beetle with a shiny green thorax and burnished bronze elytra (wing covers). The adults are primarily leaf skeletonizers, eating the soft tissue that lies between the tougher leaf veins, creating green lace. The larvae (grubs) feed underground on a variety of roots, especially those of horticultural and agricultural plants and turf grass.

Milkweed Critters Revisited

This week’s BOTW is another of those retreads from the olden days when BOTW was brand new. If you are a Charter BugFan, you’ll note that exciting new species, pictures and information have been added.

Water Scavenger Beetle (Family Hydrophilidae)

Water Scavenger Beetles and their offspring prey on their smaller aquatic neighbors, the adults also scavenge, resulting in a food pyramid that includes decaying vegetation and dead animal tissue. They are, in turn, eaten by fish and targeted by many parasites.

Lightning Beetle (Family Lamphyridae)

Lightning bugs float silently (but brilliantly) over the dark fields and wetlands of June and July, inspiring poets and children of all ages. Also called Fireflies, they are neither flies nor true bugs; they are more correctly called Lightning Beetles (LBs). Their path to the skies starts in late summer of the previous year. Mid-summer eggs hatch into carnivorous larvae that eat insects, snails and other small critters.

Predaceous Diving Beetle (Family Dytiscidae)

Predaceous Diving Beetles (PDB) are in the largest family of aquatic beetles. Typically, they live in the shallow, still waters of lakes and ponds or in the pool areas of streams. Although some are pretty small, our typical PDBs are an inch to an inch-and-a-half long, oval, with slender antennae and with dark with buffy/green edging on the elytra. Eggs are laid on/in plants above the waterline in early spring. When they hatch, the larvae drop into the water. Mature larvae crawl out of the water to pupate in damp chambers on the shoreline. They emerge as adults to reenter the water

Carrion Beetles (Family Silphidae)

Carrion Beetles and Burying beetles are scavengers. Medium to largish in size, they are good flyers with strong legs that are tipped with spines and adapted for digging. And dig they do. CBs bury small carcasses so that their larvae (grubs) can feed on them

Flower Longhorn, Spotted Flower Buprestid Beetles

This episode features two beetles, the Flower Longhorns and the Spotted Flower Buprestid, that are found on flowers. Though noticeably different in shape, both have the yellow and black coloration of wasp/bee mimics, and both have larvae that love wood. Other than being fellow beetles in the order Coleoptera, they are not related.