Monday, September 8, 2014
We had some time on either end of the workshop to do some exploring, and we didn't let any grass grow under our feet. Some amazing finds were made, including the animal featured in this post. John Howard and I were riding together, and when we pulled into this site and saw the habitat, one animal was on our minds: the world's greatest beetle, the amazing Amorpha Borer!
From our experience, and we have spent a fair bit of time seeking this beetle, the Amorpha Borer is rare and local. It does not seem to range away from the banks of the Ohio River (in Ohio), and its flight period seems to be from August into September. We have never found them far from their host plant, which is False Indigo, Amorpha fruticosa. The beetle larvae feed internally on the stems of these plants. When the adults do emerge, they seek nectar avidly, but always (?) in close proximity to the host plants. A decided favorite is the aforementioned Late-flowering Thoroughwort, but we have also found beetles on goldenrods.
So those are the ingredients for finding Amorpha Borers in Ohio: an overgrown bank of the Ohio River, plenty of False Indigo, and blooming thoroughworts and goldenrods.
Based on our searches, John and I believe that Megacyllene decora is probably an uncommon and local, if not downright rare, beetle in Ohio. We would love to learn of other populations, but so far no one has alerted us to any. A check of the massive Ohio State University insect collection (courtesy of George Keeney) revealed no specimens, either. Such a large flashy beetle would surely draw the attention of collectors, and if they were at all plentiful, I suspect specimens would reside in OSU's collection.
Perhaps the Amorpha Borer deserves to be state-listed as threatened or endangered.