Friday, August 13, 2010

A Visitor

Today we had an interesting visitor of the six-legged kind. A long-horned beetle, of some sort, stopped by and brought with it a puzzle for me. See, I love puzzles. And one of the puzzles I love to tackle involves figuring out what a critter might be. So when I found this lifer beetle crawling across our wooden floor, I went into puzzle mode.
It was a real beauty, with red, yellow and black colorations. Bold yellow stripes encircled the abdomen.

The visitor, showing its colorful patterns.
First, I took quite a few photos. The mystery beetle was not pleased. It wanted to get away, and honestly I did not blame it one bit. I studied it from the side view, the dorsal view (top) and the ventral view (belly). It still was not pleased. :(

Not a happy camper... :(
Finally, after "torturing" the poor thing for a few minutes, I released it outside. Off it flew, probably cursing me in its own tiny beetle voice.

Anyway, after checking BugGuide, I figured out it was a Neoclytus mucronatus. Its larvae feed on Hackberry and Persimmon trees. Beetles in the genus Neoclytus are considered wasp mimics. You can tell this by comparing the yellow bands on the abdomen and the facial similarities to the genus Polistes, the paper wasps.


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