ID Challenge #9

Despite the super close-up nature of the photograph in today’s challenge, this is not a crop and is thus a straight up ID Challenge (making this either a very giant insect or maximum magnification of my 65mm lens).  I’ll award 2 pts each for order, family, genus, and species.  Standard challenge rules apply, including moderated comments (to give everyone a chance to take part) and possible bonus points for being the first to guess correctly (in the off chance multiple people offer the same correct answers), offering suitable relevant information, or just making me chuckle.  Reminder: nobody walks away with no points, so it pays to try even if you haven’t a clue!¹

¹ If you question the importance of this, just ask Dave, whose pity points in the last challenge helped him retain sole possession of 2nd place in the overall standings.

Who am I?

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2011

About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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62 Responses to ID Challenge #9

  1. Looks like the back of a Dermestidae – that harlequin scale pattern seems pretty distinctive of Anthrenus verbasci. Hopefully you found this beetle munching on flower pollen and not in one of your drawers!

  2. The periodic black thick hairs make me think it’s a diptera of some kind but I’ve not seen one with this kind of patterned short hair so I wouldn’t like to guess any further than that, as I’m probably wrong on even the order!🙂

  3. Dennis Haines says:

    Its a close-up of the elytra of Acanthoderes quadrigibba (Cerambycidae). Its the only species in the Lamiinae that I can think of that has this sort of “heart-shaped” pattern along the midline of the elytra.

    Cheers! Dennis Haines

    • Good job – correct on all counts, and you also earn a bonus point for each of the five commentors who submitted their correct answer after you did.

      I do, however, have to deduct one point for only implying but not actually stating “Coleoptera” and another for not italicizing the genus/species binomen. Sorry, but them’s the rules!

      Total 11 pts.

      • Anonymous says:

        You’re a hard-hearted man Mr. MacRae! LOL I only had a moment between looking at Lepidoptera larvae and their anal combs (yes I’m a twisted soul) to quickly type an answer. I figured I had not given the precision answers demanded by this most excellent game!

  4. Annie Ray says:

    Coleoptera: Cerambycidae: Monochamus carolinensis???

  5. The Ozarkian says:

    Lepidoptera.

  6. Max Barclay says:

    Lamiine cerambycid, something near Acanthocinus? I am going to guess Cerambycidae: Lamiinae: Acanthoderes quadrigibba based on the shape of the macula

    • Yes, you got the species right. You also earn four bonus points for the four commentors you beat with the correct answer. Like Dennis, however, implying rather than stating the order only gets half credit, as does the non-italicized genus/species binomen (sorry!).

      Total 10 pts.

  7. Hugh P. says:

    I was stumped at first, seeing that the mystery critter is furry, which makes it a mammal not an insect, but on the other hand, it has holes in the fur like a beetle (the holes, not the fur…), which is more like a beetle. Wait, I said that already…

    Anyhow, I was stumped until I read the latest post at Not Exactly Rocket Science discussing how, “bone holes suggest active dinosaurs”. I I figured you was trying to pull a fast one and that you had photographed an active furry dinosaur with holes in it.

    But then it hit me! I would compare the holes in your photograph and compare them to the holes in Ed’s photographs! I think the holes in the walleroo are most like the ones you have. So my guess is “eastern walleroo”, which is in the walleroo family which is supposed to be furry but Ed’s isn’t.

    Anyhow, I have to go now because I’m having my wife for dinner tonight. Just mail my prize to the above address below.

  8. Mr. Phidippus says:

    I saw one of these little guys several years ago and I’d say this looks like the elytra of Acanthoderes quadrigibba, order Coleoptera, family Cerambycidae. Unless your beetle is a lot bigger than the one I found (it was around 1cm long), your 65mm lens must be able to produce some pretty impressive magnification.

    • Hi male jumping spider! You are correct, and you even explicitly state the order (as requested) so you get the full 8 pts… minus 1 for no italics. Still, you mentioned elytra (1 pt) and beat three others with the correct answer, so that pulls you up to 11 pts.

      Nice deductive reasoning on the size, but the width of the beetle is right at 5mm (length ~12mm). The sensor width on my Canon 50D is ~25mm, so that means I had my 65mm lens maxed out to fill the frame width with the beetle. I had to take a number of shots to nail both the focus and the positioning of the beetle in the frame.

      • Oops, I didn’t know I could format the comments. I guess I’ll just have to keep that in mind for next time! And thanks for the explanation of the lens’s magnification. When I’m ready to upgrade my camera I may just switch over from Nikon to Canon to get a lens like this.

  9. Roy says:

    This looks an awful lot like the pattern found on the elytra of the varied carpet beetle (Anthrenus verbasci) or one of its relatives at least. One thing I always found interesting about these beetles is the fact that their larvae bear a superficial resemblance to polyxenid millipedes, which employ a similar defense strategy (hairs that entangle would-be predators.) I know nothing of the microscopic structure of these hairs though. I do know that the larvae these beetles are devastating to insect collections, consuming any unprotected specimens and reducing them to nothing.
    Order: Coleoptera
    Family: Dermestidae
    Genus: Anthrenus
    Species: verbasci

    • Hi Roy – yes, it is the pattern on the elytra of a beetle, so I’ll give you 2 pts for the order and another point for stating which part. Unfortunately, it is not a dermestid (which at only 2-3mm in width wouldn’t come close to filling the frame of this 5X uncropped photo).

  10. Johnson Sau says:

    Well, been following the site for a while but never tried the ID game before just thought of giving it a shot.

    I was thinking of the elytra of a beetle, probably that of a Cerambycidae perhaps?

  11. Brady Richards says:

    Totally an oh-so-late night guess, but since I have lamiines on the brain after scoring some Acanthocinus princeps tonight, I’ll Say with as much authority as I can muster, that this is the cerambycid (beetle!) Acanthoderes quadrigibba. There. Order, family, genus and species with the subfamily thrown in for free. Interesting moth-like pattern.

    • An oh-so-late night correct guess, that is. I’ll overlook the lack of an “-ae” and the end of “cerambycid”, but common names (e.g. beetle) only earn half as much as scientific names (e.g., Coleoptera). Dr. Yonke always nailed me for a point if I didn’t italicize genus/species binomens, so I have to do the same here. Still, you beat two others with the correct ID, so you get those 2 pts back as bonus.

      Total 8 pts.

      Send me those Acanthocinus princeps and I’ll drop the deductions😀 (just kidding!)

      • Brady Richards says:

        Start using the HTML/BBCode and full names — got it.
        Puns don’t always work — got it.
        Bribes may work — I’ll definitely remember this for next time!

        I just happened to be at the computer tonight so i’ve been refreshing the page every time an email pops up. This has been fun. “And the award for best supporting entomologist goes to — envelope, please….”

        You might think about announcing ahead of time when you’re going to moderate the comments and announce winners — I know I’d fix popcorn.

  12. Tim Eisele says:

    I’m going to go with “maximum magnification” here, the way that the focus drops off quickly at the edges makes me think that the depth-of-field was very shallow. I think it is the elytra of a beetle (Coleoptera). The beetles I’ve seen where the elytra are colored by dense, short hairs like that have all been related to carpet beetles, so for family how about Dermestidae. The color is right for the ever-popular Varied Carpet Beetle, Anthrenus verbasci[1]. If so, I hope you didn’t find it in your insect collection. In the bad way, I mean.

    [1] Although, I can’t find any comparably high-magnification pictures to check whether they have that pattern of tiny punctures on the elytra or not (and the hairs look a bit too fine). Well, that will have to do unless I think of something better later on.

    • Like several others, you followed the dermestid beetle blind alley, but “Coleoptera” earns 2 pts and naming the body part gets you another, and your deductive reasoning on the magnification factor is worth a bonus point.

      Total 4 pts.

  13. Coleoptera: Dermestidae Anthrenus sp.

    Or else it’s a close-up of a faux fur rug – Really not sure which. :~)

  14. Ani says:

    Ok, I am going to hazard a guess here. Order: Coleoptera, Family: I wish I knew!. This appears to be the elytra. That’s all I think I know.😦

  15. Order Coleoptera (Beetles), Family Cerambycidae (Longhorned Beetles), Acanthoderes quadrigibba.
    See, for example, this bugguide image.
    Your shot would be a dorsal image of the elytra.

    I didn’t see a common name for this species, but I’m guessing the genus name means “thing of wood”. The species name would be “four humped”, referring I guess to the four protuberances on the pronotum.

    • Dang, just noticed I forgot to italicize the genus and species, and I know you’re a stickler for that🙂.

    • You have this game figured out. Yes, your ID is correct, and the proper presentation of scientific names at all levels earns you the full 8 pts. I’m even going to throw in a bonus point for being the only person in the challenge to do that!

      You also get a point for naming the body part, another for nicely describing the meaning of the genus and species names (and providing me with a title for the followup post), and still another for beating another commentor to the punch with the correct answer.

      Total 12 pts and the win!

  16. Mike says:

    I would say some sort of dermestid, perhaps varied carpet beetle, Anthrenus verbasci.

  17. Josh Basham says:

    Ok here we go…
    Order: Coleoptera, Family: Cerambycidae, Subfamily: Lamiinae, Tribe: Acanthoderini, Genus: Acanthoderus, Species: quadrigibbus. Described by Thomas Say in 1835. Feeds in numerous hardwood genera. I have always thought the pattern looked like a profile shot of two bulls squaring off to fight. A closer look at your pic makes me think of a couple of ants looking back at the viewer.

    • Yes, you got the correct ID and get 2 pts each for order, family, genus, and species—but you lose one for not using italics with the genus/species names (sorry, I had to do the same to several others). I’ll overlook the “-us” ending of the specific epithet, which should be “-a” since the gender of Acanthoderes is feminine.

      I really like the bulls-in-opposition comment—I’ve never heard that for this species, so I’m going to award a whopping 3 bonus points for it.

      Total 10 pts.

  18. Dave says:

    What a conundrum! Do I wrack my increasingly challenged brain for ways to curry pity points or take another stab in the dark? Well, the punctae suggest a strongly sclerotized arthropod and the median line and symmetry suggests the division between two elytra. Ergo, this should be a beetle (Insecta, Coleoptera).

    Are any beetles really this hairy? Well, dermestids can approach this, but they tend to have flattened, scale-like hairs. Some Scaraboidea are very hairy too, and Ted was just embarrassed by a bum-eyed scarab at Myrmecos Blog and so he may have been looking over some recently, but this doesn’t look right for a scarab type for me. Ted likes clerids, and clerids tend to be hairy, but this hairy? Then there are all those tiny hirsute beetles. Mycetophagidae is tempting, but they are very small and not as hairy as reputed.

    But, let us assume that this is a not a tiny beetle at the limits of the lens, but a largish beetle of more or less cylindrical form (since the sides drop out of focus). That suggests Cerambycidae: large, more or less cylindrical beetles, some of which are very hairy and have contrasting colour patterns.

    Now I wish I had looked closer at the Clytus ruricola that I collected last week to see if its colour patterns are composed of dense hair-like processes. Can’t be that beetle, of course, too small and different colours, but if only I had looked at it more closely, I would feel less piteously unprepared. I think I will have to give up here and go make dinner: details of the elytra of a member of the Cerambycidae (Insecta: Coleoptera).

    • In addition to the pts you earn for correctly identifying the order and family (2 pts each) and stating the body part (1 pt), I’m also going to award 3 bonus points for the endless entertainment you provide me with not only the deductive process you follow in trying to figure out my challenges, but the eloquence with which you present it.

      Total 8 pts.

  19. Traci says:

    Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, probably something Lamiine-esque.
    I’m going to guess Acanthocinus princeps – the Ponderosa Pine Bark Borer.
    lovely picture whatever it is!

  20. Pingback: Four-humped Longhorned Beetle « Beetles In The Bush

  21. To all those who guessed dermestidae, that was my first thought as well.

  22. Josh Basham says:

    Thanks Ted!

    I can’t believe I forgot the italics, my bio teacher would be so disapointed in me. I’ll try to remember them for next time.

  23. Jon says:

    Not that I would be any good at it.., but keep up the I.D. challenge game!

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