Beetle Larva

What’s THIS bug?
OK, so I’ve just discovered your website tonight and have spent HOURS avidly reading. I didn’t mean to do that but the photos and knowledge are fascinating! It’s bookmarked and I can’t wait to share it with my children tomorrow (which is only a few short hours away: not good!) Didn’t discover our latest (New Mexico) garden find, however. This is my first time trying to get a close-up pic of a bug, and I didn’t do so well. Two pictures came out sort of focused but don’t show the beautiful coloring. The others are fuzzy but give a hint of the pretty creamy-yellow and black. The underside has the same creamy yellow with an intricate lacy/dotted black design. The pincers at the head look sturdy enough for me to use care when handling (i.e. chopsticks!). Somewhere in your website someone described the behavior of this bug well: she said that when disturbed it sort of reared up and shuffled backwards several times. I can’t remember what bug she was talking about but it’s a good description for what I saw. I also saw it latch on to the abovementioned chopsticks with its pincers and curl its body around, as if to attack. Any info would be appreciated, but especially the most critical information for a novice bug enthusiast like me: identification, garden Friend or Foe, and pincer/stinger/venom information! Can’t wait for a response!
Betsy Joyce

Hi Betsy,
What a nice letter. We are going to give you a quick answer and hopefully get additional information from the expert Eric Eaton. This is a beetle larva, but we are not sure about the species. It is a garden friend since it is predatory and will help eliminate pests like caterpillars, snails and such. No venom. You might get a slight nip, but it is doubtful the skin will even get pierced. Hope that helps. We just got Eric Eaton’s response: “Its gotta be the larva of a ground beetle (Carabidae). Might be a Calosoma species at that size.”

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