Ironclad Beetle

Subject: Caterpillar Hunter/Calosoma
Location: Jamul, California
February 8, 2013 5:47 pm
I sent in a picture of a likely Western Tussock Moth larva today, but I had more trouble figuring this one out. It’s a black beetle, with sparse flecks of green, white and grey. Not surprisingly, he would blend in well with the large granite outcroppings in the region. Part of the reason why I think he’s a caterpillar hunter (Calosoma) is because I found him close to the Western Tussock Moth caterpillar, and he fits the general description. But there are so many species, I can’t figure out which one. In the pictures, you’ll see the caterpillar in the background – I want to point out that after taking these pictures, I took the caterpillar to some bushes nearby and released him. I didn’t feed him to the beetle. Also, I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures.
Signature: Ryan

Diabolical Iron Clad Beetle

Dear Ryan,
This is not a Caterpillar Hunter.  It is a Diabolical Iron Clad Beetle, the common name being a reference to the extremely hard exoskeleton that is sometimes pierced with nails when mounting.


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BugMan aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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