The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

Fire-coloured beetle

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?

12 responses to “Fire-coloured beetle

  1. MObugs41 March 4, 2010 at 10:42 AM

    Wonderful post. The only thing I love to take pictures of almost as much as insects are mushrooms. Those tiny shrooms are a great find. The beetle larvae is a cool specimen too.

    • TGIQ March 5, 2010 at 9:28 AM

      I’m finding myself increasingly enamoured with fungi and lichen, truth be told…I used to not pay them much attention, but that’s rapidly changing…

  2. Ted C. MacRae March 5, 2010 at 3:01 AM

    I suspect they eat fungi growing in the narrow spaces between the bark and wood.

    • TGIQ March 5, 2010 at 6:52 AM

      The little mushrooms up there WERE growing in that space…that’s the amazing thing…the whole cluster was about the size of a quarter.

  3. erikabear March 7, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    Love the photos! Gorgeous!

    • TGIQ March 7, 2010 at 3:28 PM

      Thanks! I must admit, I was pretty pleased with them too, especially the second one (the closeup of the head)…I think I’m starting to get the hang of this “macro” thing!

  4. Pingback: Flat Bark Beetle recycled « FallToClimb

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  6. Marvin March 19, 2010 at 2:11 AM

    Inspired by your beetle larvae posts, I went out to take a look under the bark of some firewood that had decayed well past being burnable. The first section of bark I removed revealed two Dendroides canadensis. Thanks for both the inspiration in the ID information.

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