Currently viewing the category: "Rain Beetles"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Pleocoma rubiginosa rubiginosa Female !
Location: Chimney Peak Recreation Area , Kennedy Meadows Road , Kern Pleateu , Sierra Nevada Mountains, Tulare County, California, USA
March 14, 2017 6:24 am
Chimney Peak Recreation Area , Kennedy Meadows Road , Kern Pleateu , Sierra Nevada Mountains, Tulare County, California, USA
March 9, 2017
I just got back from spending 5 days ( 3/4/2017 to 3/9/2017 ) in the Kennedy Meadows Area in search of Pleocoma rubiginosa rubiginosa and I was not disappointed ! My good friend Garin Woo and his sister joined me the first day and we collected a handful each at sunset using Black lite traps and nets. The next day they had left and a major Blizzard hit me , dropping over a foot of fresh snow. I was off the pavement on a dirt road so, I stayed put and waited 2 days for the snow to melt and the Pleocoma to fly . 6 degrees the second night in the Blizzard and a balmy 22 degrees the third night with clearing skies .Finally the temps soared upward into the 70’s and the Beetles started to Fly in Numbers ! So the 4th and 5th night I was able to collect an excellent / large series of beautiful freshly hatched male Pleocoma ! And as a Bonus Prize I found a Female Pleocoma rubiginosa rubiginosa on the last Night ! Setting her right in the lip of my net I was able to collect 6 Males who flew right in it ! Then the flights stopped as quickly as they began , with the main flight being 15 minutes in duration and then that was it . On the way home to Lake Tahoe my rig died and I had to have three different tow trucks work to get me and my Ford Expedition home ! That took Two extra days as the one Tow truck also had Mechanical problems half way home . It was still a great trip and the motor issue was fixed by my main mechanic in a half day, putting me back on the road ! Thank God for my Premium AAA Card and excellent Tow Truck operators ! These folks literally keep America Rolling ! The Male’s length sizes ranged from 20mm to 30 mm and the Female was 22mm in length ( using stainless steel calipers ) . These are the last Pleocoma to fly until next Fall ! I am including the male and female pictures and they ( both sexes )are both the same length. Cheers and good Hunting to All ! Cheers ! Gene St. Denis Sierra Nevada Research
Signature: Gene St. Denis

Rain Beetle Attraction, Pleocoma rubiginosa rubiginosa

Dear Gene,
Thanks for sending your presumably ultimate Rain Beetle sighting of the very wet, very warm California winter of 2016/2017.  Your early March adventure makes for a great tale to commemorate your excellent collecting season.  Our readers really benefited our readership and it entertained our editorial staff greatly.  Readers who want to relive Gene St. Denis’ Rain Beetle adventures should visit our Rain Beetle page.

Female Rain Beetle, Pleocoma rubiginosa rubiginosa

Correction
Daniel , the last picture you posted is the female from the side ,
please change it’s title from male to female . Unless you want to
replace it with the male picture I am adding with this reply . Cheers !
Geno

Thanks for the correction Gene.  I will use all your images.

Male Rain Beetle: Pleocoma rubiginosa rubiginosa

Rodger that Daniel ! I just wanted to say that you guys have a great
site and do a splendid job bringing Entomology to Public as well ! Keep
up the good work my Friend . Cheers ! Gene

Female Rain Beetle, Pleocoma rubiginosa rubiginosa

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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

Rain Beetle

Rain Beetle

Dear Gene,
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.

Rain Beetle

Rain Beetle

Rain Beetle Habitat

Rain Beetle Habitat

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Pleocoma staff Schaufuss 1870 male
Location: 4 miles South East of Grass Valley , Nevada County, California, USA
November 23, 2016 9:31 am
On October 16th and 17th 2016 ( during rain showers ) I headed south of Grass Valley on the side of the road and collected a very nice series of Pleocoma staff Schaufuss 1870 males both days crawling on the ground ,several run over and squashed by trucks, a couple netted in the air and 6 in my homemade blacklight traps .The male staff started flying as soon as the sun went down until dawn , which was the heaviest Fights . Male sizes ranged from 27 to 32 mm . The flights for a few males lasted until 8 o’clock that morning . These guys are stocky and have ” Amazing Colors ” ! Also stopped by a couple days ago and picked up a half dozen dead / barley alive males under lites. Cheers ! Gene St. Denis Sierra Nevada Research
Signature: Gene St. Denis

Rain Beetles

Rain Beetles

Hi Gene,
All your recent images are making us envious that we have never witnessed the flight of Rain Beetles.

Rain Beetle

Rain Beetle

Rain Beetle

Rain Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Pleocoma hirticollis
Location: North of Gibson Hill, Hwy 20, Lake County, California, USA
November 22, 2016 9:58 am
Mike Seth and I headed down to High Way 20 north of Gibson Hill ( east of clear lake ) during the storms and set out our custom Blacklite Traps before sunrise and waited. The fights started at 6:55am and We had a total flight time of 12 minutes with a nice series each Of Pleocoma hirticollis males ! For a Bonus we also got 3 ” Newbies” yet to be discribed … 52 degrees , calm and Rain . Ground Soaked and very muddy. We had to put chains on while of pavement. Cheers ! Gene St. Denis Sierra Nevada Research
Signature: Gene St. Denis

Rain Beetle

Rain Beetle

Hi Gene,
Thanks for keeping WTB? readers informed on your Rain Beetle project.  Many of the storms you are describing did not hit us in southern California.

Rain Beetle

Rain Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Pleocoma shastensis Male
Location: Logging Road South of Deadhorse Summit 6 miles , Hwy 89 , Shasta County, California, USA
November 22, 2016 9:46 am
I headed up north to Dead Horse summit on Highway 89 in a radical wind and rain storm October 14th and 15th 2016 , Looking for Pleocoma shastensis Dyke 1933 . In the howling darkness south of Susanville on Highway 395 , 5 semi-tractor trailer rigs were blown over and the 5th one was right in front of me. The wind not only tipped the big rig over it lifted the Whole rig Over the highway fence and put it 40 feet from the road. Amazingly the driver was OK after crawling out and he had me call 911 for him. At times I would stop several times and wait for the gusts to pass , making the speed limit was not possible . I then continued way north past Susanville to 8 miles south of Dead horse summit and set out my home made black lite traps the next two nights and waited in the Pouring rain and howling winds. I was not disappointed ! The traps received a very nice series of males , every trap had 3 to 5 males in it. During the days I walked the Forrest service dirt roads in the immediate areas and located many more dead and dying , males from the flood conditions, as well as some still flying until Noon. It appears that the males will fly until out of energy once activated that DAY. They were not flying for several days at day break for 15 to 30 minutes at a time , as other Pleocoma do. This would explain why they have been Extremely hard to find ! Many males had been driven over by other trucks on the roads in the immediate area and I have a couple handfuls to glue and repair this winter.Male sizes were from 23 mm to 34 mm . 48 degrees to 65 during the day and Heavy rain with soaked Muddy Earth. Cheers ! Gene St. Denis Sierra Nevada Research
Signature: Gene St. Denis

Rain Beetle

Male Rain Beetle

Goodness Gene, what a harrowing experience you had.  Thanks for providing us with the images.

Rain Beetle

Male Rain Beetle

Rain Beetle

Male Rain Beetle

And , I Found a Prize !! A Gorgeous female Pleocoma shastensis was just emerged and had a dirt lid on her head like a trap door spider waiting in her hole ! Two males were on the ground headed her way . Many males had been driven over by other trucks on the roads in the immediate area and I have a couple handfuls to glue and repair this winter. Cheers ! Gene St. Denis Sierra Nevada Research

Mating Rain Beetles

Mating Rain Beetles

Hi again Gene,
Thanks again for providing so many excellent images of a rarely seen species, an even rarer sighting of a female Rain Beetle and the awesome image you have of the mating process.

Rarely seen female Rain Beetle

Rarely seen female Rain Beetle

Rarely seen female Rain Beetle

Rarely seen female Rain Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What kind of bug is this
Location: California Sierras
November 4, 2016 5:49 pm
I found this beetle yesterday November 3rd. I tried to identify it myself but no luck
Signature: Paul

Rain Beetle

Rain Beetle

Dear Paul,
This is a Rain Beetle in the genus
Pleocoma, a group that is endemic to western North America, mainly California and Oregon.  Your individual is a male.  Females are flightless and they live underground.  The winter rains stimulate metamorphosis and males fly in the rain to seek mates.  Are you able to provide us with more specific location information?  We will contact Gene St. Denis to see if he is able to identify the species.

Hi Daniel
Thank you for your help- I believe your right about it being a Rain Beetle. I went to your link and saw it referenced HWY 88 and Amador County. I am located about 35 miles south in the sierras in Calaveras County. Where by the way Mark Twain wrote the Calaveras Jumping Frog story (if you heard of that). I am in the town of Arnold elevation 4000 feet. The day I found it was right after a heavy rain which was what your link said
Thank you for your help!

Thanks for the additional location detail.  We hope Gene St. Denis can provide a species name for you.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination