My Friend Fred
I work on the 29th floor of a huge building in the middle of downtown Portland Oregon. I found this little guy barely alive in my windowsill one day and have no idea where he came from. His appearance did coincide with an orchid that was donated to my office though, so he might have come in with that. Anyway, I poured a couple drops of water onto the ledge before I left that night and the next morning he was walking all over the place…on the window, on the sill, over my books. He has been my office mate for 4 days now. I though he might be a box elder bug or a milkweed bug, but haven’t found any pictures that look like him and I’ve never seen him fly. He is about half an inch long. Could you let me know what my new friend is?
Well, perhaps his life span was short, or maybe he just did what we all feel like doing stuck in a skyscraper day after day…curled up and died of claustrophobia. I haven’t heard anything though and am still interested to know what he was.
I’m not sure why we never got your original letter. Fred was a Checkered Beetle from the Family Cleridae. Checkered Beetles are brightly patterned with red, orange, yellow and blue and they have bulging eyes. Adults visit flowers and rest on foliage and trunks of dying or dead trees and they prey on the larva of wood boring insects. Larva of some species prey on bark beetle larva while others feed on grasshopper eggs. Our California species, Aulicus terrestris, feeds on caterpillars. We contacted Eric Eaton to try to get an exact species name. Here is his response:
“I grew up in Portland and never saw anything like this! It is indeed a checkered beetle (family Cleridae), but I wonder if it might even be exotic, and came in on produce or something. Jacques Rifkind runs a wonderful website with LOADS of images of Cleridae, so maybe someone should try searching that site for a match. These kinds of clerids are not pests, BTW, but prey on bark beetles and other pest insects. Eric”
Update: (06/27/2007) Eric Eaton pursued the following identification.
Daniel: At last we have an ID on that checkered beetle: Enoclerus eximius according to Jacques Rifkind! Please see attached, and make sure he gets the credit for BOTH identifications. I was merely mediator here. Thanks. Eric
Dear Eric, Jpeg came through fine. That one is indeed Enoclerus eximius (Mannerheim). Have a good weekend! Cheers, J