Can you identify this grub?
Mon, Oct 6, 2008 at 2:53 PM
I found about 10 grubs at the bottom of my compost pile while turning it the other day. At first I thought I saw a shrimp and thought: “We don’t eat shrimp, how’d that get there?” Then I realized there were many more and they were all burrowing away from the light.
The largest was about as big as my thumb but I let it get away as I looked on in stunned amazement. This one pictured is about as thick as my index finger and an inch and a half or so long.
It was difficult to take a picture of the top of it because it wanted arch it’s back and burrow back down into the earth.
Can you help? I’d like to post your response on my blog
Ramshackle Eric
Los Angeles, CA


Hi Eric,
Congratulations. You have Crawly-Backs. Charles Hogue indicates in his wonderful book, Insects of the Los Angeles Basin, that the grubs of the Green Fruit Beetle or Figeater, are called Crawly-Backs. He writes: “The adults are active from late summer to early fall and, during this period, lay their eggs in compost piles and other accumulations of decomposing plant litter. The larvae are fairly large (2 in., or 50 mm, long) and C-shaped; the body is pale translucent white, and the head is dark brown. The first two molts are completed in the fall, the third the following spring. Larvae move forward on their backs with an undulating motion of the entire body. They obtain purchase on the substratum with transverse rows of stiff short stout bristles on the back of the thorax. Because of the peculiar manner of locomotion, they are known as ‘crawly-backs.'” The adults are beautiful metallic green beetles that have a loud buzzing flight.

Figeater Grub
Figeater Grub

2 thoughts on “Crawly-Back”

    • What’s That Bug? officially promotes allowing them to live in the compost pile to help break down organic matter, and to then pick fruit before the Figeaters get to them.


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