Thursday, July 05, 2007

Cool Bug Discovery : Ten-lined June Beetle

I was out walking with my neighbour Navdeep late last night, when we spotted a really neat beetle on the sidewalk. I had to bring it home to show my kids, so I picked it up, and carried it home in a paper cup I found. Here is a photo of it in the small "pet" cage we have, for keeping and observing various small creatures we find on occasion (double-click image for closer view):
Ten-Lined June Beetle
My research indicates that this is the Ten-Lined June Beetle (Polyphylla decemlineata). Apparently, it lays its eggs at the base of conifers, where the larva (grub) lives for 3 to 4 years, eating the roots of the tree. Then it emerges as an adult, mates and returns to the soil to lay eggs. The adults feed on the foliage of conifers (e.g. pine), so I plucked some pine needles and dropped them into its cage.

Since dropping him into the cage, he has remained pretty much motionless, with his feet slightly curled (i.e. not standing, just lying on its belly). So I was afraid this morning that he would already be dead before the kids could see him. It looked like it, until I reached into his cage, and picked him up, and he moved a little. Then later in the morning, I took him out, for some photos on my hand:
Ten-Lined June BeetleThen on my daughter's grasshead (which she made at school) - doesn't Mr. Grasshead look surprised?
Mr. Grasshead with New Bug FriendThen suddenly the beetle started moving around, and before I could put the camera down, flew to the top of my kitchen cabinets. I climbed a chair to retrieve him. So there is still some life left in him. Here he is reaching skyward just before flying off.
Ten-Lined June Beetle before Flight

23 comments:

Owin & Irena said...

that bug is HUGE! you're braver than me for picking it up.
Irena

Garden Lily said...

Ha ha, brave not really, but crazy some times, yes, when it comes to bugs. But I only hold the vegetarian types in my hands. Not spiders or ants or anything with a taste for meat.

I forgot to mention, this particular bug has the ability to hiss. Pretty cool, I found out the morning I pulled him out for photos. It is quite scary, actually. If I hadn't read about it before I heard it for myself, I would have dropped him on the first "psst!".

Spider Girl said...

I live on Vancouver Island, and last summer about this time I saw so many of these beetles around!

They would fly into my house through the patio doors and my cat had a wonderful time chasing them around.

For a week they were everywhere and then I haven't seen a single one since.

ScarlattiEGB said...

Eek! I just identified that this is the beetle I encountered this summer at Devils Tower when one landed on my head! Actually, it landed on the scarf on my head, and hissed at me when I tried to shake him loose. He seemed to have amazing clinging powers too--I had to pry him off of my scarf. The hiss is scary -- I heard the hiss before I saw the beetle, so I freaked and dropped him :)

Garden Lily said...

I just found a neat site called What's That Bug?", with all sorts of categories of bugs, including beetles like this one. Looks like you can write & send photos in, for identification. It's worth checking out.

damion said...

Just to say, thanks for writing this up; I was able to find it and show my daughter who just found this beetle down near granville island, vancouver; now she's run off to get some pine needles!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this! I've found tons of them at my house in the past week and I couldnt figure them out! Right now I have two out front, and they hissed at me too! I got scared and came online to look for them. Thanks a bunch! So, are they safe for our gardens? Or are my trees going to fall over? Friend or foe? A reply email would be appreciated. Karijwickstrom@yahoo.com

Garden Lily said...

I would think that if the grubs eat the roots of coniferous trees, that can't be a good thing, but most plants & trees are pretty resilient to all sorts of things munching on them, so I wouldn't think they'd fall over overnight. However, I didn't release mine back into the wild to reproduce (that's all the adult does, really), I enjoyed it in a cage until it died.

In our area (Vancouver, BC), we have the European chafer beetle in pretty big numbers, it is very similar, except munches on the roots of the grass. The main problem is a certain time of year in their 1-year life cycle when the grub is fat & sweet, and the crows & raccoons dig it up, causing a big mess, especially since the grass has been weakened. But I have not had any "noticeable" damage to my lawn, and yet when I dig in the garden, I have run into the grubs, and certainly find the adults flying all about at this time of year also.

All the best. Enjoy those beetles. I hope I will find another again, they are certainly very interesting.

Nikouru said...

Hey I just found that same type of beetle the other day and my friend and I were wondering what it was. I don't remember it hissing at us but it might have been because it was ill?? I'd never seen anything like it before. I live in Northern California so I'm guessing these guys are wide spread. Anyway nice post...found it through google when I was searching for more images of a Ten-lined June Beetle.

:)

Jen said...

This beetle i on my screen door right now! I have been looking all over the web for identification - glad I found your page! That hiss really is the freakiest part!

Garden Lily said...

Jen - I remember when I was trying to ID this bug, it took some searching, I'm so glad my "research" has helped you with identification. And yes, the hiss is pretty freaky.

It is fun to hear reports of more sightings, so please keep posting!

Anonymous said...

My son and I found one of these stuck to the screen door at night. He was attracted to the light that we had on. We decided to keep him until we could identify him. Today we threw in a bunch of pine needles and later we will release him. He did hiss a bit at us when we disturb him. Very cool bug.

Anonymous said...

Very scary to find! I never seen one before and it was so huge! it looked like a small frog at first, until we turned the light on to look at it on our porch. The hissing freaked us out! We thought it was a mutant species or something, just had to look it up. Good to know what it is!

genius said...

I just found one in my home, he must have been attracted to the light from the patio and flew (or walked) right in as the door was ope. I didnt hear the hiss but he did cling! Read on another sight that these scary looking bugs can have a nasty bite? Does anyone know if this is so? I am in so cal, no conifers in MY yard but plenty in my neighborhood. Im freaked out, had never seen it before and hope not to again...

Busy Mom Tacoma said...

Thanks for this post! The kids found one in our front yard today (Tacoma, WA) and I found a lot of their larve in my Strawberry Garden this spring... now I understand why I lost the Strawberry plants this year. There was a lot in that garden.

soweird! said...

just found 2 of them outside my door! thanks for the info about them they kinda freaked me out with the hissing but def cool

Anonymous said...

These were always my favorite as a kid. I had a pet hedgehog and was always catching different bugs to feed to her (they are insectivores). But June bugs were her favorite, I guess the hissing made it more exciting for her. Lol. But we would always collect a bunch of them during the summer and freeze them for a special treat for her during the winter.

Garden Lily said...

Thanks to all who have your sightings with me. Please keep them coming. After my one memorable discovery, I have not seen one since, so I love to hear your stories. Based on the comments, it sounds like it is more of a "July" bug than a "June" bug.

Ali Wendt said...

Just found one on my front porch (Newport, OR) Too scared to pick it up! I thought it was dead, so I lightly tapped it with a stick. The hissing scared me!! Very interesting but very creepy.

Anonymous said...

Live in Sicamous b.c. fresh from vancouver...was sweeping the deck and heard hissing...looked over and saw this huge pretty beetle...i let it climb on my broom and moved it to the grass..so funny. because it was standing its ground...

Anonymous said...

just found one in North Tacoma and it attached itself to my finger and scarred me when it hissed. do they bite? HHSS

Garden Lily said...

It's fun to hear more reports of these bugs. Keep them coming. I haven't found any, since this one encounter. Since they are vegetarian, I don't think they would bite. The one I found certainly didn't, even with us handling it. Enjoy, and let me know what you find!

dwberend said...

When I was visiting my Grandparents in Northeast Washington these bugs were common every summer that I can remember. Just to let those asking about biting, they do. However, I'm the only person that I know of that has been bitten. I had the misfortune of stepping on one in the shower. The bite was very painful however the shock of it being so unexpected may have played a part.

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