Subject: Caterpillar Hunter/Calosoma
Location: Jamul, California
February 8, 2013 5:47 pm
I sent in a picture of a likely Western Tussock Moth larva today, but I had more trouble figuring this one out. It’s a black beetle, with sparse flecks of green, white and grey. Not surprisingly, he would blend in well with the large granite outcroppings in the region. Part of the reason why I think he’s a caterpillar hunter (Calosoma) is because I found him close to the Western Tussock Moth caterpillar, and he fits the general description. But there are so many species, I can’t figure out which one. In the pictures, you’ll see the caterpillar in the background – I want to point out that after taking these pictures, I took the caterpillar to some bushes nearby and released him. I didn’t feed him to the beetle. Also, I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures.
This is not a Caterpillar Hunter. It is a Diabolical Iron Clad Beetle, the common name being a reference to the extremely hard exoskeleton that is sometimes pierced with nails when mounting.