Sunday, March 7, 2010
Sunday Spinelessness - Survivor
Until today these Sunday Spinelessness posts have been severely unrepresentative. I've talked about molluscs and myriopods and shown you photos of anthozoans and arachinids but nowhere in these posts have I included a post about a beetle. Which is a shame because, to a first approximation, every species on earth is a beetle. Really. Most animals are arthropods, most arthropods are insects and most insects are beetles. In all, 350 000 species have been described so far, about a third of the total number of species from all groups. The star of today's piece is one of New Zealand's 4 500 described species.
I found our star stuck in one of those deadly rhododendron shoots . I guess if I was a cold-hearted documentarian, interested only in recording the happenings of the natural world, I would have left him there to struggle. But, really, I'm just a sucker for handsomely striped elytron so I helped disentangle him from the sticky shoot.
Those impressive antennae place our specimen in the order Cerambycidae, the long horn beetles, which includes the famous huhu beetle. I can't identify it down to species but it's likely in the genus Coptomma (for what it's worth, the taxonomic shorthand for 'some species in Coptomma' is 'Comptomma. sp'). Our Coptomma didn't seem to have any long lasting effects from his run in with the rhododendron's sticky trap, he wandered off my life-raft leaf and set about cleaning himself up: