Fri 27 Aug 2010
Written by Jeff
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One of the wonderful benefits of living in the current era is the sense of “community” that has developed among those who are life-long learners and enjoy learning new things. My wife and I often hike through the Sonoran Desert where we currently reside, but in the summer we seek relief by going to the “high country.”
High country is the term used for the mountain region of Arizona such as Payson, the Mogollan Rim, Prescott, etc. We recently headed for the mountains of Prescott which offer a 10-20 degree cool down from our desert home. We had heard about the Watershed Trail near Goldwater Lake and we were interested in seeing that area. We were off to a late start and we weren’t sure if we would get to finish the entire trail, but we would do what we could.
As we were ascending the mountain, I looked at some of the dying Alligator Junipers. They get the name from their alligator-like bark (see picture below).
On one of the trees I noticed this large black and yellow beetle. While I find some bugs creepy, this one was rather attractive. I took a couple – of pictures so I could try to identify it once I returned home.
Listed below are a few of the websites I used to try and I.D. the beetle!
I looked and looked, but couldn’t quite narrow it down. Luckily, What’s That Bug has a request form for those who would like to have a positive ID of a certain insect. Of course there is the customary proviso that they cannot answer all requests which is quite understandable. Since I wasn’t getting anywhere with my personal quest, I decided to submit a query. Here is the email:
Location: Prescott, Arizona
August 20, 2010 1:28 pm
Dear Sir (or Madam): We were hiking in Prescott, Arizona and saw several of these beetles on the bark of Alligator Junipers/Pines. Would you be able to identify them for me? I found similar looking beetles (on the web site) that were solid black, but none with the yellow-stripped sides. Thank you for your consideration.
Signature: Jeff Ross
AND low and behold, here is the response:
We do not know why Chalcolepidius apachianus, which we identified on BugGuide, does not have the common name Apache Click Beetle. Bugguide has no information on the species, but indicates it has been photographed in Arizona and Utah. Since there is not much information to be found online for the beautiful Chalcolepidius apachianus, we will propose a second name: Skunk Stripe Click Beetle.
So… Chalcolepidius apachianus! Of course! I don’t know if I like Skunk Stripe Click Beetle though. How about you? Isn’t it wonderful that we can find this wonderful information? Now I can update my photographic tags to include the correct name. I encourage everyone to write to experts in the field when presented with a situation like this. More often than not, I have had success.
I will write about another incident in the North Country of Minnesota in my next post. Until then, keep observing those living things around you and enjoy learning about them. Have you had any similar experiences in finding people to help ID bugs or plants?
When we returned to the parking area we were greeted by a field of orange Globe Mallow and Sunflowers. They were a bit wilted, but still a heart-warming site after a long trek up hill!
Gardening on the Moon, www.gardeningonthemoon.com, originally published this post