Look What Came to the Porch Light
Location: Mt. Washington, Los Angeles, CA
August 5, 2012
Last night while taking out the garbage, it was obvious that the warmer than normal night was bringing the critters to the porch light. There were three of the still unidentified Cerambycids that first made an appearance over a week ago, and a reddish beetle on the ledge caught our attention. It looked like a Stag Beetle at first, but closer inspection revealed the antennae of a Borer Beetle, another unknown Cerambycid.
At just shy of an inch long, this is no mammoth, but it is still an impressive beetle. It was captured with a champagne flute and a postcard and left on the kitchen table until morning light would allow better photos. A quick trip to BugGuide quickly produced a visual match with a Pole Borer, Neandra brunnea, but alas, it is listed as eastern North America on BugGuide and the data page shows no sightings west of Colorado. A second member of the genus, Neandra marginicollis, is listed as “sw. US (AZ-CA)” on BugGuide, but is it only represented by a mounted specimen and there are no photos of living inviduals.
There is no specific information on BugGuide for Neandra marginicollis, the the information for Neandra brunnea posted to BugGuide might also be relevant for the west coast species, including: “A robust yellowish-brown to reddish-brown longhorn, resembles a stag beetle, perhaps, but antennae are not clubbed. Specific characters(1)(2):
tarsi with five visible segments, no process between tarsal claws
pronotum subquadrate (almost square), widest at front
elytra without striations” and “Larvae bore in trees and structural wood (poles, crossties, etc.) in contact with moist ground. Adults frequently come to lights, though sometimes adults emerge, mate, and lay eggs in the same cavity they occupied as a larva.”
We suspect a warming trend is bringing out the beetles. Nights are in the mid to high sixties and days are in the high eighties. According to the neighbor, we are expecting a hot week.