RE: phallus or stinger…but on a beetle?
Hello, I love your site.
I found this guy while I was walking in our office parking garage. A friend here at work said “beetles don’t have stingers” so, I guess it could be a phallus. It most closely resembles what you have described on your site as a California Prionus beetle, but the pics you have don’t show a stinger. What is this bug, and what is the pointy-thing?
Courtney Cavness, Austin Texas
Yes your beetle does look like one of the Prionus, but beetles do not have stingers, and the appendage is not a phallus either. We suspect it is an ovipositor since this type of beetle lays eggs in trees, but we will turn to an expert, Eric. Below is his response:
Had to laugh at this one:-) This is indeed another prionid longhorned beetle, but it is a Stenodontes sp. (or what used to be called Stenodontes anyway, I think they changed the name).
The funny part is that this is a FEMALE! The “stinger-phallus” is actually her ovipositor, what she lays eggs with in the crevices of bark. When beetles die, females often evert the normally retracted ovipositor. Who knows why?
Male Stenodontes resemble a prionid crossed with a stag beetle, as they have enlarged jaws (and can USE them, let me tell ya!). Looking forward to seeing the site back up in October. Oh, BUGGUIDE.NET had THEIR server crash, so they are temporarily out of commission also. Bad month! It should be running again by October, but you might want to check, and put a notice up to that effect if it is still not up when your site goes back online.