Specimen of the week: Hermit flower beetle

Scarab beetleMonroe MSUE Diagnostic specimen of the week: This giant grub came out of the “chocolate egg” pupal case when we broke it open. The thin-walled “eggs,” which could pass for fecal pellets of some very large rodent-like creature, are made by the grub for its last winter before changing to a pupa and then emerging as an adult hermit flower beetle. They were falling out of an oak tree and this is one of the smaller ones, said the gardener who brought it in. (We suspect some squirrel may have been cleaning out the tree hollow they grew up in, or how else could they have fallen?)

The large scarab beetles are occasionally found on flowers as adults but are not pests. The larvae feed only on rotting wood or associated fungi, etc., and are found in tree hollows and rotting stumps, where the eggs are laid by the adult beetles after mating. They are called hermits apparently because so much of their life is spent hiding in such places. You can see a photo of the adult on this page, http://www.angelfire.com/oh3/elytraandantenna/USInsects/RearingOeremicola.html with rearing instructions. Monroe MSUE secretary Diane Michaud gasped “Why would anyone want to raise them?!”

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