Back on June 13, while my wife and I were headed to a different destination, we passed by a logging mill operation in Black Forest, northeast of Colorado Springs. I wanted to go back another time, and did so on my own this past Thursday, June 23, but not without much trial and error. It was a rewarding outing once I got there, with beetles of all kinds flocking to the freshly-cut Ponderosa Pine logs
The first insects I saw were what I expected: medium-sized jewel beetles, Chrysobothris dentipes, as depicted above. These members of the family Buprestidae look exactly like little shards of pine bark, but they move often enough to be easily seen. Several males were engaging in “butt-thumping” displays to nearby females. Below is a very brief video depicting this. It is surprisingly audible, and also hilarious. I hope to go back again and get a longer video segment.
Also present were a fair number of the magnificent metallic green Phaenops gentilis. Though they are only about 8 millimeters in length, these buprestids are still conspicuous. Like most jewel beetles they are quick to fly when disturbed, though they usually simply run so erratically as to be nearly impossible to get an image of. Females pause often to lay eggs, though, so that is your one opportunity. The one below took time to groom itself and luckily I was in the right place at the right time.
I also found a few oddball beetles including a very tiny weevil, Lechriops californica. At least that is what I think it is. They bore, in the larval stage, under the bark on the trunk and larger branches of various pines.
Furniss, R.L. and V.M. Carolin. 1977. Western Forest Insects. Miscellaneous Publication No. 1339, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. 654 pp.
Smith, David R. 1996. “Aulacidae (Hymenoptera) in the Mid-Atlantic States, with a Key to Species of Eastern North America,” Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash.. 98(2): 274-291.