March 4, 2010
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This chunky fella was hanging out with a group of his buddies…four others…beneath the bark of a rotting hardwood tree. The ambient temperature was just warm enough to allow the critter to slowly crawl away from the exposure to fresh air and the geek with the camera.
Superficially, this larva looks a lot like that of the Red Flat Bark Beetle I spoke of the other day; it has a similar flattened, reddish-yellow, elongage body, prominent head and “pincers” at the rear. Indeed, on first glance, it’s what I assumed the larva to be. Closer inspection revealed some differences, however. For starters, the head does not share the characteristic “triangle” shape of C. clavipes. Note also the long hairs protruding laterally on each segment.
The urogomphi (“spines” on the last segment) on this animal are also heavier, darker, and more prominent. There are rounded lobes on either side.
I’ve pinpointed it to a member of the Fire-Coloured Beetle family, Pyrochroidae: Dendroides canadensis. It’s the most common Pyrochroid in this area.
Once assumed to be predaceous, it is now understood that Pyrochroid larvae are wood- and fungus-eaters. I found these beautiful tiny mushrooms growing just above the larva’s resting place…I wonder if they will become a spring snack?