Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Delta Flower Scarab Beetle

 Photo: John Howard

What I wouldn't give to see one of these, especially if my camera was in tow! John Howard, whose work I have featured here many times and who is always finding COOL STUFF, found this gem of a beetle in Scioto County last weekend. He sent along the photos and was good enough to permit me to share them here.

This is a Delta Flower Scarab, Trigonopeltastes delta. Supposedly it isn't rare, and the adults are summertime visitors to a wide variety of flowers. The larvae are out of sight and out mind, boring about in rotting wood. Common it may be, but I've never seen one, and I believe this was John's first and he's afield a lot. The beetle is quite striking with its heron-foot antennae, hornet patterning on the pronotum and rich ochraceous elytra.

But wait - the beetle was apparently in peaceful repose when John made this image. As he moved in for photos, and the beetle felt threatened, well, you ain't seen nuthin yet!

Photo: John Howard

As the threat - John - loomed closer, the beetle cocked its hind legs forward, canted its body upwards and emphasized the elytra, or upper shell. Voila! It instantly transformed into one mighty scary beast, sort of a hornet with super eyes, and giant white mandibles. I would think the overall effect could readily dissuade potential predators.

I'll be hoping to luck into a Delta Flower Scarab on upcoming forays, and I appreciate John sharing his amazing photos with us.



scott hogsten said...

I found a couple of these last year about this time along one of the clear cuts in Scioto County. They aren't uncommon but are very skittish. It took a very careful approach to get a picture.

Derek Hennen said...

What a crazy-looking beetle, I haven't found one before either. Thanks for sharing!