Small pair of well camouflaged beetled
Location: Cherokee County, NC
May 4, 2011 9:16 pm
Hello again, seems I have another insect needing a proper name.
Found these two beetled a few days ago slowly making their way up a persimmon tree. The one on top of each photograph took the lead, and the other followed behind for a few minutes.
A small ovipositor-like organ emerged from time to time from the upper beetle’s abdomen, and was probing the cracks and crevices in the tree bark.
I think they might be click beetles, but I’m not entirely certain. Their eyes seem larger than most of the ones I’ve seen, and their shells a little stockier. I didn’t want to disturb them, so I left them alone, and several hours later they were gone.
These are Metallic Borer Beetles in the family Buprestidae. The larvae are known as Flat Headed Borers. We decided to do a web search of Buprestidae and Persimmon and we believe we correctly identified your beetles as Obscure Dicerca on the Beetles in the Bush website. Here is a lengthy and descriptive excerpt from that site: “During my recent trip to northwestern Oklahoma, we visited Packsaddle Wildlife Management Area, a 17,000-acre chunk of land containing mixed-grass prairie, shinnery oak (Quercus havardii) shrublands, and mesic woodlands along the South Canadian River. In one of these woodlands, I encountered a small grove of persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) trees – some of which had recently died. Whenever I see dead persimmons, I immediately think of the jewel beetle species, Dicerca obscura (family Buprestidae). This attractive species is one of the larger jewel beetles occurring in our country, and although it is fairly commonly encountered in collections, seeing the living beetles in the field is always a treat. Dicerca obscura is most commonly associated with persimmon, from which I have reared it on several occasions, but Knull (1920) also recorded rearing it from staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina). I began inspecting the dead trees for the presence of the beetles but didn’t see any at first. Then, I saw something moving right where I had been looking. I had, in fact, looked right over this beetle without seeing it – even though I knew what could be there and what it looked like. I don’t know if the species name (from the Latin obscurus, meaning indistinct) was actually given because of its marvelous cryptic abilities, but it certainly could have been. As I continued to inspect the trees more closely, I found several additional adults – all sitting on trunks that I had just inspected a few minutes prior. … However, in the context of their environment, their coloration and sculpturing helps them blend in and become almost invisible.”
Thank you for the ID, that excerpt described the little fellows perfectly.