Unidentified borers mating: Hot hot clear tube phallus action!
Hello! Your site is a magnificent, entertaining resource. I spent hours poring through it’s offerings. Try as I might, though, I could not locate a matching picture of my beetles. The female is about an inch and a quarter long, or 3 1/2 cm. They generally resemble the borers and longhorns, but I can’t find a lookalike for the markings either on your site or the internet at large. These were collected in Barton Flats, near Big Bear Lake in California. They were clinging to a kitchen windowscreen at night. The altitude was about 7000 feet, and the cabin was set amongst Ponderosa Pines and Cedar. I nabbed the suspects in a jar and brought them home. The next day, I was amused to see that they were gettin’ busy. Life goes on. Note the long, squiggly, clear tube extending from the male’s butt to the female’s. They mated for about half an hour from when I first noticed, and then the male withdrew, and they had some cuddling and pillow talk for another half an hour. When my cat accidentally brushed the borers’ container off my desk, the annoyed borers filled the jar with an undescribably unpleasant odor. Ugh! I had to smell it twice, because I couldn’t believe it was so repugnant. I never smelled anything quite like it. Consider yourself fortunate that one cannot yet attach a smell to emails. … Happy Entymologing!
Amy in Camarillo, CA
At the moment, we cannot positively identify your mating beetles, but we can narrow down the possibilities. These are Mating Flower Longhorns in the subfamily Lepturinae. BugGuide has many pages of individual specimens to sort through.
Update: From Eric Eaton
Spot on with all the latest identifications! Great job! I am pretty sure that the mating flower longhorns are Ortholeptura valida, which has no common name…. I have dropped the ball on the fulgorid, but will pick it up again. Eric
Mr. Eaton, you beat me to the ID. Following your hint, I looked again at BugGuide, focusing this time on the Flower Longhorns, and found this picture of Ortholeptura valida. I spotted it earlier today, but hadn’t gotten around to replying til now. I’m not perfectly satisfied with the match on the markings, but there’s no other bug closer. Are they rare? I feel bad taking them away from their home now. I felt ok with it when I thought they were harmful borers. By the way, I’m sorry that you felt the second picture was too explicit for some of your more, ahem, sensitive readers. ; )