Food chain or strange threesome?
Location: Rockford, northern Illinois
August 18, 2011 6:49 pm
I would like to identify the large orange and black beetle sitting atop the mating pair of asian beetles. I found them on the underside of a grape leaf in my backyard in Rockford, IL. At first I thought that the large beetle was eating the smaller ones, then I thought maybe it was trying to mate with them. Either way, he certainly was hanging on to them..I would appreciate anything to let me know if it’s beneficial or not, not as if the asian beetles haven’t already done a number on the grapevine…..
Signature: Amy Berogan, Rockford, IL
It isn’t often that we are taken totally unawares by a photograph, but your images of mating Japanese Beetles with a Grapevine Beetle gave us a drop jaw moment. We recently featured another photo sent to us by the Phoenix Zoo staff that appears like an attempt at interspecies mating. Many other introduced species are known as Asian Beetles, including the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle and the Asian Longhorn. To avoid confusion, your pair are known as Japanese Beetles, one of the most well known and reviled Invasive Exotic species to plague North American gardeners since the beginning of the 20th Century. They are known to feed on the flowers and leaves of more than 100 cultivated plants, and they are especially fond of roses, rose of sharon, and fruit trees. The larger Grapevine Beetleis native and adults are often found eating the leaves of grapes. Both are in the subfamily Rutelinae, the Shining Leaf Chafers, and we can only hope that they are so distantly related that there will be no progeny produced by this unnatural sexcapade. Gardeners will likely throw in the trowels should a hybrid suddenly appear that is the size of a Grapevine Beetle with the ravenous feeding habits of the Japanese Beetle. Perish the thought.
Thanks Bugman! You know, my boyfriend said the same thing when I showed him my photo..let’s hope we don’t get huge Japanese beetles, then my grapes just won’t have a chance! I’m including another photo that I didn’t send at first because I didn’t think it was of the same quality as the other photos, but it does show some sort of ovipositor or penis thingy coming from the rear end of the Grapevine beetle toward the Japanese beetles. I couldn’t believe my eyes either. Let’s just pray, as you said, that no progeny are produced!!!
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