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odd larva - Hylecoetus lugubris

odd larva - Hylecoetus lugubris
Jefferson Notch, Coos County, New Hampshire, USA
May 5, 2007
Size: maybe 17 mm
Saturday, May 5, 2007 Tom Murray and I headed up to Jefferson Notch next to Mount Washington to
search for the extremely rare Pyth*o strict*us, which was reported on Mount Washington over 100 years ago. We had planned to drive up to the notch and spend the day skinning bark from dead trees and logs, which I had a permit from the Forest service to do.

At 3009 ft., the notch is the highest elevation reached by "a public highway" in New Hampshire, but words can be misleading. The highway is a dirt road and it was closed to traffic with a heavy iron gate barring entrance, forcing us to hike in (and up) 5.2 miles, stopping to turn rocks, roll logs and crack open conks along the way.

This larva we found tunneling in wood under the bark of a dead deciduous stump of unknown species. It appears to have long, fused urogomphi, massive eye pigment spots, and abnormal mandibles.

Rule marks indicate half-millimeters.

Images of this individual: tag all
odd larva - Hylecoetus lugubris odd larva - Hylecoetus lugubris odd larva - Hylecoetus lugubris odd larva - Hylecoetus lugubris odd larva - Hylecoetus lugubris odd larva - Hylecoetus lugubris

It's alive after all!
Yesterday afternoon it was limp and unresponsive in its vial. I fished it out and laid it on the counter. Around midnight I looked at it and it was wiggling. Maybe a prepupal lethargy...? With hopes restored I put it back in the vial.

Actually it would be good if this larva *is* ready to pupate because I've just read that they eat wood that they infest themselves with fungal spores laid by mama beetle along with the eggs. I should probably have hacked out the burrow it was in containing the fungus-infested wood it had been gnawing on to make sure it had the correct food supply.

Moved from Beetles.

cool beetle
this may be a neat find. The urogomphi is quite distinct. I think that this is the larvae of Lymexylidae, the ship timber beetle. Last year's larval systematics class here at Cornell found a whole bunch of them and I believe most of the class was stumped as to what it was. The genus and species name escapes me at the moment but it is illustrated in Quentin Wheeler's revision of the family. I know sites in Ithaca where the larvae is found but have not been able to see the adults yet.

hahaha, i remember being stum
hahaha, i remember being stumped when i caught the lymexylid for my larval class. what also makes me chuckle to is that you also had no idea what it was at the time too. don't act like you know when you don't.

That *would* be cool.
I've been itching to encounter a lymexylid of any age. I have this one in a vial with some wood and cambium from its stump. They are supposedly early to mature so it could soon pupate.

Update. My rearing dreams are crushed. The larva has died. However, Dan Young at University of Wisconsisn was able to put a species name on it: Elateroides lugubris (Say).