An FYI note.
Just discovered your site while shearching for info on “Bess Bugs” (i.e. beetles of family Passalidae). I noted two inquiries about mystery beetles on 10/15/03 and 11/1/03 that you identified as members of Passalidae. According to my copy of “A Manual of Common Beetles of Eastern North America”, the two beetles pictured are actually members of family Lucanidae, specifically, they appear to be similar to Ceruchus piceus. However, I realize that my book (given to me when I was about 8 for Christmas), may be out of date, and perhaps some reclassification has occurred. However, my personal experience with these particular beetles is that they don’t live in rotted wood, and tend to be predators in forest undergrowth, as opposed to the more common Passalidae, which I spent my childhood evicting from various logs. Their elytra do look more like bess bugs however.
Anyway, back to
my actual work (protein crystallography, not sure where I went wrong).
Dear D. Coleman,
Thank you for your editorial check. We just researched our misidentification in the book you cited by Dillon & Dillon and have come to the same conclusion that you did. Our edition states that they breed in decaying logs of beech, oak and other trees. Though we pride ourselves on copious research, we do make mistakes and want to thank you for bringing this error to our attention. We do not want to misinform our curious and often frightened readers.
Thanks for your response to my “Bess Bug” inquiry. I’d also like to complement you on an excellent site, and will use it in my continuing efforts to teach my wife not leave the county over every creature I find.