Ed. Note: Bug of the Month
Since we just returned from our holiday, we need to select a Bug of the Moth. Rain Beetles in Southern California have been experiencing some nice December rainfalls, so they seem a likely candidate to be featured this month.
Subject: Pleocoma octopagina
Location: Wrightwood , Burn Area Dirt Road Turnouts, San Bernardino County, California, USA
January 1, 2017 9:39 am
This December 22, 23,and 24, 2016 ,I drove down from Lake Tahoe south to the Wrightwood Burn area roads just north of San Bernardino in Southern California and back thru rain and snow storms . Meeting up with Mr.Garin Woo for the first morning , we set out our Home made Black lights and Mercury Vapor lite in high hopes of getting some hard to get Pleocoma octopagina Robertson 1970 male Rain Beetles . They have the most Antennae laminae segments or fans of the Male Pleocoma which is 8 . And we were not disappointed !! The rain flights started at 5 am and were intermittent until 6 am and then became steady until 7am and ended. Some were seen still flying around in the growing morning sun lite. We received a very nice series of Flying Large Newly Hatched Male Pleocoma octopagina . Precise Lengths of males were 22 mm to 36 mm with metal calipers . They come out in limited numbers and were quite Large and robust this year . I stayed out a couple more mornings solo . This was even in a completely and totally Burned out ( this August 2016 ) area …..” Truly Toasted “. There is strong evidence to me that the majority of this area’s Bush’s ( highly resistant somewhat to fire ) are still alive under ground and can provide food for the Pleocoma grubs . I have have photo evidence that in adjacent past fires we have clear regrowth coming out of Completely burned terrain / Bushs . The laminae are extremely Thick and robust with their prominent ” 8 fan segments ” . They are very large and strong flyers for Pleocoma males and they came in to Garin’s Mercury Vapor lite the strongest . I spent some time looking for females to no avail .On the way home in the Snow Storm I had to have it in four wheel drive from Bishop all the way home to Tahoe at 20 to 45 MPH ! Cheers ! Gene St. Denis Sierra Nevada Research
Signature: Gene St. Denis
Our editorial staff was away for the recent southern California rains, but we are thrilled that you were able to continue to supply us with Rain Beetle sighting information.