Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Beetlesleuth! Beetlesleuth! Beetlesleuth!

Last weekend, I was set with the job of identifying a showy, thumb-long insect that had drawn the attention of visitors to one of our sites. Sadly, she (I'll get to this later) had left her perch when I arrived, but one of our visitors forwarded a picture to one of our shop employees, who e-mailed it to me. This is one impressive looking beastie:

The best way to figure out exactly what you're looking at is to know generally what you are looking at. I immediately thought I was looking at a beetle, because the upper set of wings looked like hard elytra, and the long, yellow 'spine' at the end of its abdomen shouted out 'ovipositor' to me. I tried a Google image search, but it wasn't very helpful, so I headed over to the laypersons' Insect Identification website. Being 99.9% sure I was looking for a beetle narrowed things down, so it didn't take too long to find out that this was a female Broad-Necked Root Borer (Prionus laticollis), described on the site as 'mammoth'... which made me even more miffed that I didn't get to see her. I then emailed my co-worker, and our visitor to inform them of the result of my sleuthing, forever cementing my reputation as the company 'bug guy'.

Post title lifted from this movie scene.

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