Tuesday, June 4, 2013

School Malaise findings 2 - beetles

Welcome to part two of the most interesting creatures found during the School Malaise Trap program. Today a look at two examples of beetles.

Handsome Fungus Beetle (Phymaphora species)
In North America, there are only two described species of Handsome Fungus Beetles (family Endomychidae). One beetle sampled in the School Malaise Trap Program is mrophologically similar to one of them - Phymaphora pulchella, but its DNA barcode indicates it is likely a distinct species. This means that it is possibly a species that is new to science or at least new to North America. Phymaphora pulchella  is a tiny insect (3-4mm long) with a dark spot above its head, and another dark band across its back. It has yellow legs and antennae, and the particularly ‘handsome’ males have antennae with swollen tips. These beetles feed on fungi that grow under the bark of trees. Phymaphora pulchella is most commonly collected at fresh wounds in trees, although the reason is still a mystery to entomologists.
Mycetina perpulchra

Phymaphora pulchella

The new one - Phymaphora sp.

Flat bark beetles (Cucujidae)
Those beetles are a distinctly flat family of the order Coleoptera. They are relatively small with a flat, long body ranging from 6 to 25 mm in length. They are predominantly brown in colour, with some species that are black, bright red or yellow. Both the larval and adult forms of Cucujiidae can be found under the bark of dead tree, where they are believed to feed on other arthropods. Their range extends across all continents except Africa, and are most diverse in northern regions like Canada and Alaska. One of the species found in the program was the red flat bark beetle (Cucujus clavipes) which is widely distributed in Canada and possesses an interesting trait, its body produces antifreeze proteins. This allows the animal to survive extreme cold temperatures. Now that's a real Canadian life style.
Cucujus clavipes

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