Afghanistan, fast moving blue/gray beetle with large hind legs
March 10, 2010
First, I just want to say I’ve been a huge fan of your site for neigh on 4 years now. I suppose my wife and I are odd for laying in bed at 03:00 in the morning, drinking wine and reading the backlog of “What’s That Bug” for entertainment, but then I never claimed to be normal.
So, on to my request! I am in southern Zabul Province, Afghanistan… I found the little guy pictured below scurrying around VERY rapidly in broad daylight and quite unafraid. The terrain is mostly sparse, high desert scrubland. What struck me were his enlarged hind legs and the gorgeous blue/gray mottled exoskeleton. To be honest, he appeared to be hunting. These photos were taken today, March 10, 2010.
In any event, thanks again for everything you’re doing, you’ve at least helped me to appreciate the insect world far more than I would have without you. I look forward to your book.
Devon in Afghanistan
Southern Zabul Province, Afghanistan
Thanks so much for your very kind letter. We believe your beetle is a Darkling Beetle in the family Tenebrionidae, though we will contact Eric Eaton to verify that. We suspect it might not be a quick or easy matter to identify the species. Meanwhile, you may read a bit about the North American members of the Darkling Beetle family on BugGuide. Though the coloration of your specimen is quite different, there are basic anatomical similarities to the members of the tribe Amphidorini which includes the Acrobat Beetles in the genus Eleodes. Perhaps one of our readers will have better success with finding some online information and a species identification.
Hi Daniel and Devon:
I agree that it is a Darkling Beetle and I believe the genus is probably Adesmia. As far as I can tell there are three species in Afghanistan (A. karelini, A. jugalis and A. servillei). I was only able to find online photos of A. karelini, but it looks very close. On a personal note, I want to thank you Daniel and WTB? for getting me through yet another long winter. Next week I am off to Costa Rica (!!!) for a ‘bug’ vacation with my new macro lens, and with a bit of luck it may be spring when I get back! Regards.