Amblycheila success!

I love it when a plan comes together!

Another one was caught after these photos for a total of five individuals. They’ve been setup for now in a container of native soil. I hope you’ll forgive these rather rushed photos – they were hurriedly taken at half past midnight with rain beginning to fall. Details and much better photographs will, of course, be forthcoming.

I don’t think I have ever worked as hard for five specimens as I did tonight!

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2010

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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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19 Responses to Amblycheila success!

  1. jason says:

    Congrats, Ted! The moment I say your FB status, I had to rush over here to see your find. I’m glad this sudden trip paid off for you.

  2. Great news. I’m looking forward to reading the details of the adventure.

  3. TGIQ says:

    So, so GREAT! Yay! What a great conclusion to this adventure!

  4. Beau says:

    A great day for congratulations! What a neat process… and adventure. And nice pictures too!

  5. Too Cool, awesome find! I look forward to hearing exactly how you located them.

  6. DougT says:

    This would appear to be a week for many diverse entomological successes. Congrats on a great find. Have a happy Fourth (though with this going on, I’m sure you are already having a great holiday).

  7. Thanks, everyone. This will certainly go down as one of my more memorable adventures – from my serendipitous collection of the larva last year, to finally figuring out what it was and going back out at the time that I thought they would be out, only to see none for the first hour and one during the next two while tiptoeing gingerly through the prairie in the dark, using my headlamp not only to look for the beetle but western diamondback rattlesnakes! What really made it gratifying, however, was the brief 9-hour window in the rains that hit before I got there, moved out just before my arrival, and moved back in that night and all through today. I drove through rain almost all the way there and much of the way back. It could very easily have been a 1,050-mile bust!

  8. James C. Trager says:

    So, the aforementioned beetley gods were with you. Excellent!

    • The gods had nothing to do with it – I’m taking all the credit for this one 🙂

      • James C. Trager says:

        Some would say that’s mighty presumptuous of you, but I’m just going to let you take the credit, even for the favorable weather!
        BTW, see any army ants while wandering around out there? The place looks great for spotting them.

        • I don’t know about army ants, but I ran into a mess of red, big-headed things while digging up soil to prepare the terraria – they got up my pants and stung me something awful. They (and their nest) reminded me of the Atta ants I’ve seen in south Texas, but I don’t know if that’s what they were or not.

      • TGIQ says:

        Ha! Well played.

  9. Ted, aren’t Amblycheila cannibalistic upon each other?

    • I was wondering about that myself, but the five individuals have shown no inclination to fight or even get irritated by the presence of each other. I did prepare a second terrarium and will try to segregate them as best I can into male/female pairs. I’d like to try to get the females to dump some eggs and rear the larvae all the way through.

      • … seems like I read somewhere that they were cannabalistic. But, perhaps this was an observation of specimens in captivity and/or under environmental stress.

        Nice to see your use of the term “adelphotaxon.” Unfortunately, I was unable to use the term in one of my recent papers as it was deleted by the sole journal reviewer in favor of the usual archaic verbage.

        • I think just about any insect if it gets hungry enough it will eat one of its own. I’ve had them for several days now, and they don’t seem too happy with their admittedly small environs. I split them into two terraria – one with a male/female pair and the other with one male and two females – and fed them caterpillars (which they accepted with relish!). I just want to keep them happy enough to dump some eggs before their time is done.

          Adelphotaxon seems to be well established within the carabid literature, but I’ve not seen it used in the other insect taxa I follow. It is alright to disagree with a reviewer and provide supporting references – especially as involves terminology. The Erwin/Pearson treatise should be as credible a supporting reference as one could possibly find. As a subject editor for two journals, I can’t imagine an editor who would demand “sister-taxon” be used just because a reviewer said so.

  10. peteryeeles says:

    Nice find, Ted! They certainly look impressive; almost like the Aussie Megacephala in general morphology. A pic with some sort of scale would be great.

    • Hi Peter – Our Tetracha are much more closely related to your Megacephala (formerly included in the same genus), but yes, these guys are in the same subtribe. They are quite basal and considered an adelphotaxon (sister-group) to all other tiger beetles.

      I just finished taking some “real” photographs that I’ll get up within a day. I detest scale bars within photos, but these guys range from ~25-38 mm in length – the individuals I have seem to fall within this range but not at the extremes.

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