Saturday, January 21, 2006

When mysteries collide (UPDATED)

Here's something else I noticed the other day, but I didn't have time to post it.

Along the northeastern edge of the arboretum, behind the desert garden, there are several eucalyptus trees that nobody seems to be paying attention to. Way back last summer, when we (nature guides) were studying the desert plants, my attention strayed to the eucalyptus when I noticed that something had been eating them. At the time, whatever it was had apparently finished its life cycle or moved on, leaving just a lot of chewed up leaves. I made a mental note to check on the trees from time to time, in the hopes of finding a lot of something when they came back into season.

So, the other day, during my pre-Bug Safari rounds, I checked on the eucalyptus trees, and found a few of these mystery beetles, along with some tiny, aphid-like insects.

At first, I thought maybe the beetles were eating the aphid-things. But that didn't account for all the leaf damage. Then I thought about how the larvae of the three-lined-potato-beetles devastated another plant on the other side of the arboretum.

With the little wheels spinning in my brain, I did a search for eucalyptus pests. A few minutes later I found my beetle:
eucalyptus leaf beetle

I ended up solving 2 mysteries at once! I have yet to see the larvae, but I will keep an eye out for them, and post the pictures when I get them. UPDATE: Larvae and eggs posted here!
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