Nashua, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, USA February 16, 2006
This handful of beetle larvae would have met early death had I not collected them.
It was very windy here today. There was lots of tree damage, including a large maple that snapped off at its hollow base. I knew a tree service would soon be hired to cut it up and remove it so I decided I had to check at once for beetle larvae. I found loads of Osmoderma whose pupal shells had broken open with the shock from the fall, and plenty of entire pupal shells -- probably 40 of them in all. I hope to see many of them mature into either O. eremi*cola or O. scab*ra (or both!).
There were also ceram*bycid larvae aplenty that had been exposed from the major fractures of the trunk. I'm guessing they are Para*ndra but hope to see some mature so a positive ID is made.
The Osmoderma larvae were in their customary habitat, a moist, frass-filled chamber at the bottom of a hollow. This one had a mammal nest made of leaves on top of it, possibly a squirrel's. The chamber had been between 20 and 30 feet up in the tree, and it appeared to have been accessed by beetle and mammal alike from an opening another 10 to 15 feet farther up. From their density in the chamber I am led to conclude that Osmoderma larvae are not as territorial as many ceram*bycid larvae. They don't mind the company of their own kind.
The ceram*bycid larvae appear to have riddled the heartwood of the tree from the base up at least as far as the Osmoderma chamber, and undoubtedly led to the tree's demise. I think they might in fact pave the way for Osmoderma, allowing rotting fungus to get a foothold in their heartwood chambers that eventually creates a habitat for Osmoderma.
Contributed by Jim McClarin on 17 February, 2006 - 8:51pm Last updated 23 April, 2006 - 12:05pm
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