It's not often that one gets a "life bug" while in their office, but it happened to me today. Colleagues at work know that I'm interested in a wide sphere of things in natural history, and routinely deliver specimens of flora and fauna, curious as to their identity. I appreciate their curiosity, because I always learn a lot from identifying mysteries, too.
I had stepped away from the office briefly, and upon returning noticed a thick glass jar sitting on my desk. "Ah, a bug of some sort!" thought I, seeing a small moving shape through the opaque glass. Unscrewing the lid brought clarity to the situation, and I quickly realized there were two gorgeous Painted Hickory Borers, Megacyllene caryae, within the jar! I'm no Eric Eaton, and the reason that I knew its identity so quickly is because this was a bug high on my most wanted list.
A type of long-horned beetle, the Painted Hickory Borer is a stunner. And a bit of a mystery. In all of my poking about I had never seen one, and the person that brought them to me had never seen them before, in ten years of living on their Knox county property. Painted Hickory Borers look nearly identical to another, apparently much more common species, which I'll get to. It seems that in most texts and references, this one is hardly mentioned and often just as a brief footnote in accounts of its more common relative.
Keep your eyes peeled for Painted Hickory Borers, and let me know if you find any. Or, if you know any interesting info about them, I'd appreciate hearing it.