September 29, 2021
Ben here with the Wednesday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!
This is Philonthus caeruleipennis, and it's one of the most striking rove beetles you're likely to find!
Rove beetles are a family (Staphylinidae) of beetles that are mainly distinguished by their elytra, which is the term for the hard shell that covers a beetle's flight wings. Unlike most beetles, rove beetles have short elytra that usually cover less than half of their abdomen.
Most rove beetles are fairly dark and drab, but Philonthus caeruleipennis bucks the trend by possessing metallic blue-green elytra! Believe it or not, it does have working flight wings folded up underneath the elytra.
This species is a decomposer that is often found on carrion and fungus. I found this one crawling among the remains of a bald-faced hornet nest, possibly searching for decomposing larvae to eat.
Thank you to VMNH Research Associate Curt Harden for identifying this critter!
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (www.cbtcares.com).
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
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