Friday, June 13, 2008

Name that bug!

So last night, there we were, sitting in our back yard, relaxing, when a HUGE bug came barreling through the air, right toward us. James jumped up and ran. So did I. It landed on the chair I'd been in. Naturally, I had to get a closer look.

"WOW!" I exclaimed. "It's BEAUTIFUL!"

I dashed into the house, switched out lenses on my camera, and ran back outside. Just in time to snap off one shot, and that was IT. The thing took off and landed in an oak branch. Then it flew up and over the house. Dang. I really wanted more pictures. The one I managed to get isn't that great, but at least you can see the bug's metallic green. (Yes, that's my wine glass. Drats, caught!)

Texas bumelia borer
(Plinthocoelium suaveolens plicatum)

Today, I did a little looking around on BugGuide.net, hoping that I could figure out the name of our visitor. (What'd we ever do without the Interet??). First, I found an image of one that looked like ours, then I got a genus name and Googled that. It's a Texas bumelia borer. Mike Quinn, a biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, has a nice page about the longhorned beetle on his website, Texas Entomology.

Next, I had to find out...what's bumelia? I'd never heard of it. A Google search led me tothe Texas Native Trees database, hosted by the Texas A&M Agriculture Program. There I found a link to chittamwood, also known as gum bumelia, gum elastic, false buckthorn and a host of other common names. The evergreen tree is found all over Texas, except the High Plains. "Children of early pioneers sometimes chewed the sap that oozed from cracks and wounds in the bark," according to the site. It has white flowers in the summer and blue-black berries in the fall. The larvae of Texas bumelia borers feed on bumelia root crowns, hence their name.

I just love to learn new things.

No comments:

Post a Comment