What is this bug
Location: North Kohala, Hawi Hawaii
February 14, 2011 5:14 pm
This is all over North Kohala on the Big Island of Hawaii since 1-2011
Your photo is lacking in detail which may make exact identification impossible, but this sure resembles a Ground Beetle in the genus Calosoma, collectively known as the Caterpillar Hunters. We found five species listed on the Organisms of Hawaii website, and two of them resemble your specimen with its smooth black elytra. One is Calosoma peregrinator which BugGuide reports from Arizona and New Mexico, and the other is Calosoma semilaeve which we featured as our Bug of the Month in May 2008 after it made numerous Southern California appearances in a short period of time. Certain insects seem to have very cyclical schedules and they appear in prodigious numbers when conditions are sympathetic to their survival. Your brief email indicates that your beetle might be at the peak of one such cycle. We suspect that this is not a native species and like many organisms found on Hawaii, both plants and animals, it has been accidentally or intentionally introduced and finds the climate conducive to naturalization.