Sunday, June 30, 2013

Just As Well Melinda Was At Work Tonight!

Tucson is suffering through a record heat wave.  Never has Tucson broken 100F EVERY day in June until this year!  Today it was "only" 109F after the month's high of 112 yesterday...  But relief is in sight - the monsoon clouds are building, a storm skirted Tucson this evening, setting a fire in the Catalina Mountains to the north of Tucson, and bringing showers to the far east and south of town.  Lightning and thunder echoed through the valley, so cooler temps can't be far away!

While ducking out the front door to check on some feral cats we feed there I spotted a shadow on the security door - a big freakin' bug!  It was tough to guess what it was through the screen from it's shadow, but being brave, I went out and identified a good-sized Palo Verde Boring Beetle, about 8cm (over 3") long.  Melinda might have well run for the Raid (she has a thing for bugs), I ran for the camera! 

I've seen these before - they burrow under shade trees and the larvae feed on the roots of trees.  They come out this time of year as adults (not unlike the cicadas in other areas of the states) to mate and lay eggs to repeat the cycle.  Sometimes about all you see of them are the centimeter or so holes in the ground that they emerge through, or sometimes you see what looks like a small bird flying through the yard - they are that large!

Of course, give a guy a macro lens and I'm not
content to get the entire creature in a single shot - lets look at the juicy details!  Getting about as close as I could focus, I checked out its surprisingly hairy rear leg, the way-cool spiked collar that it wears, as well as a close-up of its compound eye.  For scale, the holes in the screen are a little over 1mm diameter, and they are about 3mm center-to-center...

With the rains starting up soon we'll see a change in the seasons here, with a whole new set of creatures emerging the next couple months to enjoy the moisture.  Lets hope tonight's borer is a sign of a healthy rainy season!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

um yeah, totally gross and disgusting. I killed one of those palo verde creeepy buggers last night with one spray from "bugs r done" a really effective bug killer, d-limonene mostly, get it at sprouts. tell melinda it works better than raid seriously! good for ants, beetles, roaches, and yeah ugly creepy huge wolf spiders, whip scorpions and the like.