Snail Eater, We believe

Subject: Grandson’s bug
Location: Washington state
June 1, 2016 1:52 pm
Charlie collects bugs constantly! He wants to know this one please –
Signature: Thank you

Ground Beetle
Ground Beetle

Though we love the image you attached, we wish you had been able to provide an image that shows the dorsal surface of the beetle unobscured by fingers as that would be better for identification purposes.  We are disappointed that Insect Identification:  Insects and Other Bugs from the State of Washington does not include many Ground Beetles.  This is some species of large Ground Beetle in the family Carabidae, but we are uncertain of an exact species.  Our likeliest suspect is a Snail Eater, in the genus Scaphinotus, and according to BugGuide:  “Feed on snails, slugs. Mandibles specially adapted for insertion into opening of a snail’s shell.” 

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much for the reply – I’ve never seen a child so interested in insects and spiders.  We spend a lot of time searching bug books and online sources!  Charlie is just 5 1/2 but has been doing this for a couple years.  He will be thrilled when I share your email.

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