Friday, February 20, 2015

A rove beetle visits for a photo shoot and lunch

While out running this morning, I noticed this cool bug on the sidewalk in the park. It's getting to the point where my fitness walk/runs are not compatible with bug-finding, but sometimes I see something that's just too irresistable to pass by. (like that horrible but cool, big squished spider last fall.)

Today it was a rove beetle. I haven't seen a lot of these critters, and never one this big. This first photo is just to show it next to my hand for size.

I could see that it had a good set of jaws on it, so I picked it up carefully in my sleeve-kleenex, (you can tell that I am a woman of a certain age, because I always seem to have kleenex in my pocket or tucked into a sleeve) and wrapped it gently so it couldn't get away. I continued my run, stopping at the next few park trashcans until I found a suitable styrofoam cup I could carry the beetle in for the rest of my run. When I got home, I put it in a larger plastic container and threw a little leaf litter and compost in there to make it feel at home, and so hopefully all the pictures would not just be on a white plastic background.

Rove beetles are characterized by their under-sized elytra (shell). So they definitely don't look like a typical beetle. They live and under rocks and debris, and eat other bugs, as well as decaying plant material.

While I was trying to take its picture, the beetle caught and ate a sowbug that happened to be in with the leaf litter that I put in the container.

It was hard to get a good shot of this black beetle, with its head down, chewing on the sowbug. I was hoping to get a shot of the jaws. This was about as close as I got this time around.
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