Subject: flat black beetle w large jaws
Geographic location of the bug: Northeastern Washington State, USA
Time: 09:23 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Anyone know what this beetle is? Very strange because it is so flat. With the big jaws, I would guess it might be some kind of underbark tree eater, but I’ve never seen one like this and can’t find it in any bug book or online. Invasive species? It is about the size of the tip of my pinkie. Was on the garage door in the backyard. There are various trees around: large ponderosa pines, Chinese elms, crabapple, mock orange bushes, lilacs, wisteria vines, fruit trees, poplar, cottonwood, mountain ash, birch, ash, and maples. Was found in late July. Weather has been record hot in the upper 90s-110 F and very dry and smoky from wildfires. It also had a tiny stowaway on its back (parasite?). Weird.
How you want your letter signed: Jen Childress
Thanks so much for including a lateral view so our readership can see how flat a Clown Beetle really is. We believe your Clown Beetle is in the genus Hololepta. Your habitat suspicions are confirmed on BugGuide where it states: “Members of the nominate subgenus under bark of decaying hardwoods; members of the subgenus Iliotona in rotting vegetation incl. cactus, agave, and palms.”