|The swarm settled for a photo shoot|
Monsoon showers were hitting hard last Saturday and the evening temperatures fell well below the beetle-flying threshold. So big sphinx moths that can produce their own operating-heat dominated the lights.
|Barabara and Warren with the new book (Photo Art Evans)|
|Art Evans working on his new book 'The Beetles of Western North America'|
|Paul photographed Art and me in black and white - doesn't that look elegant!|
On roadside flowers Jewel Beetles (Metallic Wood-boring Beetles, Buprestidae) were well represented, especially in the genera Acmaeodera and Agrilus.
Over the years, my eyes had been schooled by weevil expert Charlie O'Brien. So I found many beetles in that family (not to mention that there are more weevils than any other kind of beetle).
At the party I had the great opportunity to chat about weevils with Bob Anderson, Research Scientist at Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, and a very helpful weevil identifier at BugGuide.
Longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae) come in a multitude of sizes because their specific host plants range from big old Ponderosa Pines to thin grasses. Their colors can be quite cryptic when they are sitting on the bark or twigs of their host trees. Others let their larvae grow up in milkweed stems where they sequester the plants poison in their own tissues, and the adult beetles strut proudly their aposematic warning colors.
Blister beetles (Meloidae) were also very active. The gravid females of several species of Epicauta were chewing away on Datura leaves and flowers. Their larvae are predators of grasshopper eggs, and in August there is no shortage of those.
The prettiest were of course Rainbow and Panther-spotted Grasshoppers. I'm not sure whether the eggs of species are the targets of blister beetles - the very colorful parents (aposematic?) may be able to supply their offspring with a healthy dose of sequestered toxins.
It is not too difficult to find specific Leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae) if one knows where the host plants grow. Of course we did not get every species that I expected. For Red and Blue Potato Beetles and all those interesting Hispines Art will have to come back another time.
|Photos by Warren Savary, Art Evans and me|
Thank you Pat and Lisa for another great Infestation Party!