Currently viewing the category: "Ground Beetles"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is that bug?
Location: Southern Ohio
April 17, 2015 5:52 pm
My daughter found a squished bug and wants to know what it’s called.
Thank you for your time
Signature: Leah’s Mom

Squished Tiger Beetle

Squished Tiger Beetle

Dear Leah’s Mom,
Leah found a Tiger Beetle, and in our opinion, living Tiger Beetles are much more beautiful than squished ones.  Many species of Tiger Beetles have beautiful metallic elytra.  Tiger Beetles are fast running predators that can also take to the air to avoid predators.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: please help me identify this beetle
Location: Round Rock, TX
April 6, 2015 8:41 am
Goodmorning, my name is Summer and I need some help identifying this beetle that either bit or sprayed my boyfriends closed eye when he accidentally wiped his face with a towel that the bug was in. His eye has a slight blister on it, he’s feeling ok, and it burns. I live in Round Rock Texas, in a newer townhouse. Slightly rural-ish area. Thank you so much for all that you do. Have a good day;)
Signature: -Summer from Texas

Fiery Searcher

Fiery Searcher

Dear Summer,
This effective predator is a Caterpillar Hunter commonly called a Fiery Searcher,
Calosoma scrutator.  It is entirely possible that a bite might have occurred, and though the bite lacks venom, a sensitive place like the eye might cause the reaction you indicated.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Stink Bug?
Location: Raymond, GA
March 17, 2015 11:13 am
I found this bug in the woods, and when I went to take a picture of it, it was partially obscured by leaves. I used a stick to brush the leaves away for a better view. When I did this is “popped” and released some sort of white cloud. After it did that, it scrunched up into a ball, and I was afraid I had accidentally hurt it. I used a leaf to transfer it to a piece of wood, and lo and behold, it sprang up and darted off! While I was relieved, i was wondering what caused it to make that popping noise. I thought maybe a “Stink Bug” of some sort, but couldn’t find any pictures of one that looked similar online, nor, now that I think about it, was there any unpleasant smell. I thought the red coloration was very pretty, but I’m sure other insects take it as a warning. Any idea what this little guy is?
Signature: Caleb

Update:  March 19, 2015
Hey, I sent in a letter under the title “Stink Bug?” After doing some research, I think I identified it as the Bombardier beetle (Brachinus species). However, when I looked on your site, all I could find was the False Bombardier beetle. I’m not sure if I misidentified this.

Bombardier Beetle

Bombardier Beetle

Dear Caleb,
We are so excited you wrote back to us, which prompted us to locate your original email.  This was an especially hectic week for our tiny editorial staff and we missed your original submission.  We are positively thrilled to be able to include your images of a Bombardier Beetle on our site because as you have observed, we only have images of False Bombardier Beetles, also members of the Ground Beetle family Carabidae, but in a different genus and recognizable by the black, not red head.  We are also thrilled with the written observations you provided.  The popping sound you heard is explained on BugGuide:  “Adults have chemical defenses, ejecting toxic, foul-smelling gases from their abdomen with a loud popping sound. The explosive brew is composed of hydrogen peroxide, hydroquinone, and catalytic enzymes.”
  Wired has a wonderful article on Bombardier Beetles which incudes:  “There are hundreds of species of bombardier beetles all over the world, with various defensive mechanisms. Some have non-explosive, foamy excretions of chemicals, while others like the African bombardier beetle can actually aim their explosive spray in virtually any direction like an angry lawn sprinkler.”

Bombardier Beetle

Bombardier Beetle

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Calosoma?
Location: Los Angeles
March 18, 2015 4:50 pm
Found the way! I posted on the blog few minutes ago.
Is the bug in the pictures a Calosoma?
I found them in my backyard in West Central Los Angeles.
Thank you!
Signature: Simona

Caterpillar Hunter

Caterpillar Hunter

Hi Simona,
We agree that this is a Caterpillar in the genus
Calosoma, probably Calosoma semilaeve, which we named Bug of the Month in May 2008 because of the sudden appearance of large numbers of the beetles in Southern California.  For several years, we have noticed increasing numbers of Whitelined Sphinx Moths and their caterpillars might also be getting more plentiful in the area, providing a food source for the Caterpillar Hunters and an increase in their populations as well.  These cyclical appearances are all part of nature dealing with bountiful food supplies, and then dearths of sightings when food is scarce.

Update:  April 11, 2015
Wayne’s Word Palomar blog has this to say about
Calosoma semilaeve:  “Common calosoma (Calosoma semilaeve), a large beetle that runs free during daytime hours in search of prey. With its long cursorial legs it runs very fast. When disturbed or threatened it emits a foul oder that smells like burning electrical insulation.”

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: unknown bug
Location: Santa Monica Mountains
March 16, 2015 8:23 am
I am so happy I found this service. Thank you for your expertise! I found this bug a couple of weeks ago in the Santa Monica Mountains. I have been keeping it with my meal worm farm and it has grown nicely.
Signature: Jeannie

Caterpillar Hunter Larva

Caterpillar Hunter Larva

Dear Jeannie,
We wrote to your briefly yesterday that this looked like a Caterpillar Hunter Larva and that it would probably eat your Meal Worms, and today there is a letter in our mailbox that we have not yet answered that contains a blurry image of what appears to be an adult Caterpillar Hunter in the genus Calosoma, so we decided to retrieve your letter and post it.  We believe this is going to be a significant year for the caterpillars of Whitelined Sphinxes in Southern California, so it might also mark an increase in Caterpillar Hunters, a predatory species.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
False Bombardier Beetle

False Bombardier Beetle

Subject: Red and black beetle?
Location: Kentucky
October 20, 2014 8:24 pm
I found this darling after work the other day. Eveningtime, autumn weather, in the parking lot. It was about 2 inches long, see photo of it in a plastic cup. Long legged, with covered wings like a beetle, but kind of soft to the touch, not crunchy like a typical beetle shell. It was trapped in a puddle, so I dried it off and made sure it was ok before I let it go into the weeds. :)
Signature: Casey

Hi Casey,
You rescued a False Bombardier Beetle in the genus
Galerita, and you can read more about this predatory Ground Beetle on BugGuide.  We are tagging this posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination