Several years ago ...

Several years ago ...

Several years ago, I was hanging out in my friend Bradley's basement when I felt a tickle on my leg. I reached down to scratch my leg and felt a distressingly large lump on my calf ... and then the lump made a squeaking noise. I learned two things that night: that the brown prionid beetle is capable of squeaking, and that when properly motivated, I can shed my pants in less than half a second.

The brown prionid beetle (Orthosoma brunneum) is a fairly common large beetle, and it's the only species within its genus! Like many longhorn beetles, these beetles lay their eggs in rotting wood. The larvae feed on the dead wood while the adults feed on tree leaves.

Of course, one of the most unique features of the brown prionid is that when they feel threatened, they make a squeaking noise! If you crank up the volume on the short video clip, you can hear the beetle squeaking at me at the very end. It's kind of cute, especially if it isn't inside your pants! #BenInNature

Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. While he is working from home, Administrator of Science Ben Williams is venturing outdoors each day to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world.

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

map of Virginia and surrounding areas

Please Visit Us Soon


Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 4pm
Sunday - Monday: Closed


$10 for ages 18-59
$5 for ages 3-17, seniors 60+, and college students
FREE for children under 3, museum members, and members of ASTC participating institutions

My 4 year old son loves going to the museum. The exhibits are educational, interactive and kid-friendly.

Beth Deathrage

Hear More  arrow