Rainbow Beetle from Alaska

Subject: Two interesting and beautiful bugs in Alaska
Location: Near Fairbanks Alaska
June 5, 2016 5:20 pm
Hello bugperson,
In the past week I have found two beautiful insects around our home in Fairbanks Alaska. I have looked through your site and also consulted Dr. Google, but have not yet been able to figure out what they might be. The yellowish metallic beetle is on an apple leaf. It was perhaps a half inch long. The multicolored beetle was under the leaves in my flower bed as I cleaned it out to plant some flowers. It was about 3/4 of an inch long, or perhaps 5/6 of an inch… fairly large for a beetle in Alaska.
Thanks for any help you can give me.
Signature: bugalaska

Rainbow Beetle
Rainbow Beetle

Dear bugalaska,
We had to search through some unanswered mail this morning because we saw your subject line the other day, but did not have time to open your request.  We are always excited to post images from Alaska because we get so few submissions, and when those submissions are inquiring about the wonders of nature as opposed to which pest is inhabiting the house, we are even more thrilled.  We will have to split your submission into two postings because your two beetles have different family classifications.  We are starting with your gorgeous Rainbow Beetle,
Carabus vietinghoffi, a species of Ground Beetle in the Caterpillar Hunter genus and a new species for our site.  Our search for an Alaskan Ground Beetle produced a posting on Alaska Guide that identified the Rainbow Beetle with the information “They feed on caterpillars and other small insects.  In Alaska there is no record of rainbow beetle being spotted south of North Pole.”  On the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists website, there is a report of a lecture by Dr. Henri Goulet that describes the Rainbow Beetle:  “Mind-bogglingly beautiful metallic greens, bronzes, purples and blue blacks, more emerald greens. Also turquoise wing covers trimmed with copper called ‘the best’ in Canada, Carabus vietinghoffi, from the land of small willows. It was as if a sculptor and a jewelry designer had collaborated in crafting them.”   There is a highly entertaining account in NewsMiner.com of Eleven-year-old Caleb Seekins finding a Rainbow Beetle in Fairbanks and taking it to the University of Alaska Museum of the North where entomologist Derek Sikes is quoted saying:  “‘We get a couple of these every year,’ said Sikes. ‘They usually are turned in by people just like Caleb, who find them and just think they are interesting.  It’s a pretty special deal for a couple reasons,’ he said. ‘It’s more of an attractive beetle in Alaska. We generally don’t have pretty things like that here, with lots of iridescent colors.’  He sent along a photograph of the beetle, which is a Beringian species. Commonly found in Asia, this species of beetle made it into North America when the Bering Land Bridge was in place and sea levels were low.”  Carabidae of the World lists the range as “NW, NC, E-Siberia, Far East, Sakhalin, N-Korea, NE-China; Alaska; NW, Canada.”  Thank you for submitting these wonderful images of this gorgeous Rainbow Beetle to our site.

Rainbow Beetle
Rainbow Beetle

4 thoughts on “Rainbow Beetle from Alaska”

  1. If anybody finds one, please let me know, I have been looking for an example for a very long time. I will buy it! Text me, 4two5 four4nine 28fourfive.

    • So funny — I’d never seen one before. We released ours as well. Might be a good year for them in the interior 😉


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