Sunday, August 15, 2010

Stop Press: Beetle Identified!

The Internet comes up trumps again. No sooner had I posted yesterdays blog than our Somerset friend Val,no doubt with an input from countryside specialist hubby Pete, posted a comment suggesting that our beetle is a longhorn.

I also went hunting around the Web and found an identification service offered by the British Natural History Museum where I posted my queries and got this response. An American site, What’s That Bug, also replied to our request for help. “Your beetle is a Longhorned Borer Beetle or Longicorn in the Family Cerambycidae. We located a French website of longicornes and we believe your beetle is Corymbia rubra. [They have another page on the Lepturnae subfamily .]”

They continue: “The Garden Safari website discusses the sexual dimorphism of the species, and that indicates the coloration of your specimen makes her female. They indicate: ‘With the majority of beetle species the male and the female are almost identical. In a few exceptions, however, there are striking differences between the two genders. This is the case with Corymbia rubra, a species quite common on flowers in the gardens. The male is slender, brownish and has a black neck shield [protonum]. It seldomly reaches a length of over 15 mm. The female is bigger and more plump, reaching some 20 mm in length regularly. Her body is reddish, including the neck shield. Actually they do look like two completely different species! This particular species is very rare in the UK because the plants the larvae feed on are not indigenous in Britain. It is still often referred to by either of its former scientific names Leptura rubra or Stictoleptura rubra.’”

Accepting that there are likely to be variations on the theme, I reckon our beetle is …
Kingdom: Animalae
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera (beetles!)
Family: Cerambycidae (long horns)
Genus: Corymbia
Species: Rubra

i.e., a female Corymbia rubra (also known as Stictoleptura rubra)
… and this particular one’s called “Doris”!