Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This is a "sap beetle", family Nitidulidae, species Thalycra carolina, with no common name that I know of. This was caught in a pitfall trap using fermenting syrup as an attractant. Sap beetles are usually attracted to fermenting sap, decaying fruit, etc and some of them like dung and carrion and such. They have large antennal clubs, which they use to "smell" for their favorite foods. In general, the larger the antennae (the plural of antenna for insects, whereas the plural of antenna when indicating a radio or somesuch is antennas), the more "smelling" an insect does. (I'm putting "smell" and "smelling" in quotes because they do not actually sniff through nostrils like we do.) There is more information about sap beetles here http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/field/corn/sap_beetles.htm and here http://bugguide.net/node/view/8441

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