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Large wood boring beetle with very short wing covers, ID?

 
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:13 pm    Post subject: Large wood boring beetle with very short wing covers, ID? Reply with quote

It seems like this critter should be easy to identify, but I've come up dry searching in Cerambycidae (the long-horned wood borers).

It's an egg-laying female, body length 3 cm, elytra extremely short.

Location is south-eastern Washington, conifer forest around 2800 ft elevation.

Perhaps one of our entomologists recognizes this beast?

--Rik





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LordV



Joined: 22 Nov 2007
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting find Rik - can't help with ID though.
Brian v.
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Brian.

Perhaps somebody else? Is there a good place to ask, other than BugGuide?

--Rik
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NikonUser



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Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll go out on a limb here; I doubt that it is even a beetle. If it is, it's somewhat aberrant.
A beetle characteristic is having the fore wings hardened into elytra and meeting in the mid line; wing veins rarely, if ever, are visible.
Your beast seems to have membranous Fws that overlap and with obvious venation.
So what is it? I don't know, perhaps Hymenoptera (that's really sticking my neck out).
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Tesselator



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bembicinae?
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, after I took these photos I also collected the specimen. It looked like such an odd beast, I figured there would be some questions later. And since it spent some time live in a collecting jar, I got to watch it there too.

When it flies, those short yellow-tipped black horny structures hinge out to the sides, allowing the single pair of veined membranous wings seen in the photos to assume a normal flight position straight out to the sides. So I'm definitely thinking that we're looking at elytra and non-folded hing wings. The whole beast looks ever so much like normal Cerambycidae, except for the shortened elytra. If this is Hymenoptera, it's not even close to any body type I'm familiar with.

Shortened elytra with non-folded wings visible at rest do occur in Cerambycidae, see for example Molorchus bimaculatus. The illustration shown in H.E.Jaques' How to Know the Beetles is even more compelling:


However, Molorchus is a small beetle, something like 1/4 the size of this beast, and the general appearance is much different.

What has me bugged is that I figured it would be easy to nail this beast because of the odd appearance, and obviously it's not ringing any bells.

I do still have the specimen, however.

--Rik
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thartl



Joined: 28 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It very well could be a LION BEETLE? Ulochaetes leoninus?

Found here: http://www.whatsthatbug.com/category/beetles/

8th beetle down - I believe.

Admin edit: RJL, April 16, 2014, to fix spelling of scientific name.
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Last edited by thartl on Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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thartl



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And here? http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?enlarge=0000+0000+0703+0060
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bingo! How the heck did you find that one??

--Rik
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thartl



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rjlittlefield wrote:
Bingo! How the heck did you find that one??

--Rik


Google my friend - Google. (I googled Bug Identification, it showed me bug guide, and then this whatsthisbug website. You had mentioned bug guide, so I tried the other, clicked on beetles, and started scrolling. I got lucky with 8th one down from the top, phew there are over 1900 listed.)
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thartl



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW I love the shot of the egg laying - capturing the moment - great!
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Never underestimate the value of luck!

I notice that the posting you found is datelined "Eastern Oregon, August 16, 2010". So it wasn't even there on Aug 13, when I posted my question!

I see that BugGuide has one (and only one) picture of this species. No doubt I glanced at it, someplace in the 280 pages of images that I clicked through. But with that many images, I couldn't afford to spend much time studying each one, and I remember thinking "This beast is so distinctive, there ought to be at least one full row of images". Wrong again.

And thanks again!

--Rik
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