Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mystery holes, solved

Earlier this afternoon, I spotted a hole the size of a quarter in The Sanctuary. Recently excavated and perfectly round, from what I could tell. Hmm. Something lurked at the bottom. Not a snake. Not a spider. What? So I went back outside with a flashlight and camera. Got the mystery critter's front end and later the back end. Plus a curious earwig that perched on the top right side of the hole. We're guessing a beetle of some sort.

The other day, I found this hole in the back yard, surrounded with neatly-arranged leaf litter. A spider, I spectulated. A night or two later, I went outside with a flashlight. Yep, a small wolf spider scurried into the hole. Tonight I took a photo of her hole but didn't see her. So fascinating!

Monday morning, August 21, 2008–UPDATE–Our mystery hole maker is an ox beetle (Strategus aloeus)! According to "Beneficial Insects in the Landscape," ox beetles (also called elephant beetles), "adult ox beetles live between four and six months. They are active in the summer and dig deep holes in sandy soil that they use to hide in during the day." Check out their website and read more on these busy diggers!

1 comment:

Lorilee said...

Great photos of that beetle. I was lucky enough to have a Cloudless Sulphur chrysalis on a fence in my yard. Then I was even luckier to see the butterfly after it emerged! I posted photos on my blog. It has a very pretty chrysalis!
Oh, I also have a bathouse. Photos on blog too!

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