Saturday, March 28, 2009

oil beetle ~ 03/28/09 ~ Fort Ord

oil beetle
Meloe sp.

This is the largest beetle I have ever seen alive outside of a museum or zoo! I assumed it's a staphylinid due to its short elytra, but Jerry Powell claims devil's coach horses are the largest rove beetle in CA at 32 mm... and this bugger was easily 50 mm. I'm starting to wonder if it might not be a Carabidae; there are several varieties of ground beetles at Fort Ord.

ps 04/21/10 - I originally posted this as an unknown "NOT devil's coach horse beetle." With inordinate gratitude to knowledgeable nature bloggers (Backyard and Beyond, MObugs, and especially Fall to Climb - check them out!!!), I finally discovered the true identity of this male oil beetle over a year after seeing it. Most blister beetles have a very different look, but I should have paid attention to the narrow pronotum as an identifying characteristic of the family. As much as I wish I had taken a picture that indicated its impressive size, I am very glad I didn't handle it!

pss 05/09/10 - I take back the ground beetle comment at Fort Ord. They're darkling beetles in the family Tenebrionidae.

pss 04/16/11 - For an even greater TGIQ oil beetle post check out Fall to Climb.