Friday, March 18, 2011

An Inordinate Fondness #14: Where the beetles are

I get antsy when I don't get my critter fix. I wander about the house, checking doors and windows, spaces under the fridge, the stove, the beds, corners of the ceiling, hoping for at least a tiny spider or a drowsy weevil. I turn over things in the garden, looking for woodbugs and beetles. Winter is a hard, hard time; all the wonderful beasties are holed up, waiting for spring.

It only got worse this year, when I started thinking about the beetle carnival. Now I was searching the blogs, with the same results as I find at home. Nobody else had beetles, either. Here, finally, a lone carpet beetle showed up, and that was it. I fretted and dreamed of spring.

My carpet beetle, snacking on a bud from the maple tree. (Larvae eat clothes; the adults like flowers, especially maple flowers.)

So when the posts carrying beetles began to come in, I checked each one for date and location of find. And there's a definite pattern to them. See:

Posts from North America are all (except one outlier) of the "Remember When" type.


Very good. Misery loves company!

The outlier in the N.American posts comes from Margarethe Brummerman, blogging on Arizona Beetles, Bugs, Birds and More; she reports on a field trip in the Arizona dunes this February, where she found Darkling Beetles, and more.

To the south, in Central and South America, however, there are beetles a-plenty at this time of year:


Hmmm ... Maybe I should consider a trip south next year.

There are other places to find beetles, however. For example, in  Czechoslovakia, if we'd got there at the right time, we'd have found a room full of "really excited" entomologists, stooping over cases of beetles. A contingent from the Natural History Museum (UK) was among them; read about it at Beetles: Czech. Or there's a workshop on Scarab Beetles coming up in Peru; Coleopterist's Corner has the details.

As if the list of beetles weren't long enough, a couple of new species have been described; Metapocrytus, reported on Salagubang, and Arsipoda geographica, named after the National Geographic Society.

And I have no idea how to classify this last post: Jason Goldman, blogging on ScienceBlogs, has a video about a Zombie Cyborg Beetle. Really! What next?

Unidentified beetle, from Watershed Park, Delta, 2009. Definitely not a zombie.

The next edition of An Inordinate Fondness will be hosted by Dragonfly Woman. Send her your submissions by April 15th; you can use this handy submission form if you prefer.

Also, consider hosting a future edition; spaces are available from June on. Send Ted an email to book your slot.

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5 comments:

tim eisele said...

I actually do have a beetle that was found in late February in Michigan, but I haven't had a chance to post the pictures yet. It's a click beetle that a friend found in his firewood, and brought to me for identification.

If you know anybody who burns wood for heat, you can probably find beetles any time by rummaging around in their woodpile.

Susannah (Wanderin' Weeta) said...

That makes sense, Tim. I do remember bugs of all sorts in my woodshed, even in the depths of a northern winter.

Now I'm homesick again.

Dave said...

Thanks Susannah - Adrian's post allowed me to identify an unknown 'chrysomeilid' from my only Inordinate Fondness submission way back in February 2010 as Orsodacne atra. Some treat ravenous flower beetles as their own family, some as a chrysomelid subfamily, so my punting was at least within the ball park. I should dig around in the basement and see if I can't find some stored product or carpet beetle. This winter has been way too long already and a live beetle would be a nice change.

beetlesinthebush said...

Hi Susannah - wonderful issue. You even found one or two that I didn't know about! Thanks for hosting.

Susannah (Wanderin' Weeta) said...

Dave,
That's what I love about blog carnivals; there's always someone with just the puzzle piece I needed.