Location: Newark, California
June 1, 2011 9:30 pm
Hi bugman! I found this bug under a log in the backyard (I was looking for crickets to feed to my Scrub Jay friend and frequent backyard visitor).
The insect has a nasty disposition, raising its rear and menacing with its large mandibles.
So, my question to you, ”What is that bug?”
Signature: John in California
This marvelous Rove Beetle is commonly called a Devil’s Coach Horse. It is a species that was introduced from Europe sometime in the 1930s and it has adapted to life in California. It is commonly found in gardens where it feeds upon another introduced species, the garden snail, which is able to survive because of the frequent irrigation needed to sustain a European style garden in southern California. When threatened, the Devil’s Coach Horse, Ocypus olens, rears up in the manner illustrated in your photograph, and our readers frequently describe it as acting like a scorpion. It does not possess a stinger, but it does have scent glands at the tip of its abdomen and it will release a foul odor. You can find other images in our archive or by searching BugGuide.
Thank you for the speedy reply. You’re amazing! I’m recommending your site to anybody else with a interest in the bug world. I eventually release the Rove Beetle back to the log pile. Thank you for the identification and interesting background on the critter.