Subject: Well-camouflaged beetle?
Geographic location of the bug: Burns, TN 37029 (Montgomery Bell State Park)
Time: 12:18 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hi–
I saw this bug on July 23rd of this year and was impressed by its effective camouflage on the decaying bridge rail. It looks somewhat like a Southwestern Ironclad Beetle, but Tennessee is well out of that beetle’s range. Any idea what else it could be?
How you want your letter signed: Curious in Tennessee
Dear Curious in Tennessee,
We agree that your beetle resembles the Ironclad Beetle found from Texas westward, and we thought it resembled a Weevil, so we searched through Beetles of Eastern North America by Arthur V. Evans and we quickly located the Avocado Weevil, Heilipus apiatus. The book states: “Adults are found year-round, but reach peak activity in summer, found on sassafras (Sassafras) and under pine (Pinus) bark. Adults and larvae are serious pests of avocados (Persea); adults eat young fruits, while larvae bore and develop in base of trunk. Virginia to Florida west to Tennessee.” There are images on Forestry Images and on BugGuide.
Perfect! Many thanks for your quick reply. I’m going share your reply with my curious Facebook friends and encourage donations to WTB.
(aka Curious in Tennessee)