Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Backyard Beetles

Moths are not the only insects that occur with diversity in my suburban backyard. I found all of these beetles in the backyard last Tuesday, on the same day I ran the black light. When I was changing the water in the bird baths, I disturbed the beetle above from its hiding place. It bolted up a nearby tree but paused just long enough for a few photos. It is a type of ground beetle in the genus Harpalus, probably the Pennsylvania Dingy Ground Beetle, though it is difficult to identify ground beetles to species without dissection.

This beetle came to my black light, and it superficially resembles the local may beetles (a.k.a. "junebugs"). Instead of a may beetle, it is a Northern Masked Chafer, which belongs to a different subfamily from the typical may beetles, though both groups come to lights. When you see this beetle side-by-side with may beetles, you can see that this one is slightly larger and much glossier.

The third and last beetle is an Oriental Beetle. As you can guess from the name, this is a nonnative species; it was introduced to Connecticut in the 1920s and has since spread through the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.