Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Honeybrown Beetle

..... Ecnolagria grandis and with a weevil thrown in

Below are a couple of beetles I found in the backyard last Saturday. Photos #4 & #5 show a weevil. With over 300 weevil species in Tasmania I don't expect to narrow it down any more than that.

Photos #1, #2 & #3 are the Honeybrown Beetle, Ecnolagria grandis. This beetle belongs to the Lagriinae, a subfamily of the Tenebrionidae (some count Lagriidae as a separate family).

The majority of Tenebrionids feed on dead plant material and fungi and many books and web sites say that E. grandis is also such a scavenger. Personally I had always assumed they were leaf eaters as I usually find them on a variety of native plants, especially on Eucalypts. Confused, I searched for more information and I found the paper listed below. This clearly states that they feed on fresh leaves of a varity of plants including, Brachychiton, and Leptospermum. While beetles were found on Eucalyptus spp, no mention is made of Eucalyptus being part of their diet so I will have to observe more closely the Honeybrown Beetles in my backyard. At least it confirms that they do in fact feed on living leaves. The adults of this species are short lived. Most of their life is spent in the larval stage underground. Perhaps it is at this stage that they feed on leaf litter.


(Click on Photos to Enlarge)

#1 - Honeybrown Beetle - Ecnolagria grandis
By pure coincidence, this one happens to be on a dead leaf :-)


#2 - Honeybrown Beetle - Ecnolagria grandis


#3 - Honeybrown Beetle - Ecnolagria grandis
(This is an older photo from 2006. I've included it to show a lateral view)


#4 - Unknown Weevil - ( Curculionidae)


#5 - Unknown Weevil - ( Curculionidae)

References:
  • Hawkeswood T.J. & Turner J. R. (2003) Some notes on the biology, host plants and occurrence of the Australian lagrid beetle Ecnolagria grandis (Gyllenhal, 1817) (Coleoptera: Lagriidae). Spilopyra, 4: 1-3.

6 comments:

  1. With over 300 weevil species in Tasmania I don't expect to narrow it down any more than that.

    Piker!

    I've got a soft spot for honeybrown beetles. They're so unassuming yet that sheen is quite pretty.

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  2. Hi Mosura
    Great beetles.
    Photo 2 is a great action shot. It looks like the beetle is "vacuuming" the surface clean.
    Photo 3 has a cute, almost comical look about it.
    Do those weevils not have a long rostrum, or is it withdrawn (curved down) out of sight? Just curious.
    Cheers
    Denis

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  3. If I were E. grandis I'd stick with Brachychiton and leave the Eucalypts to more specialised others.

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  4. Just catching up with my visiting Mosura. Gouldiae and I witnessed huge swarms of small light brown beetles yesterday, every photo I took had smudgy spots on it, work for the clone tool.

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  5. Thanks Snail - I don' mind if you want to try an ID it for me :-)


    Thanks Denis - Yes it is quite short (not hidden)


    Thanks - You mean like Koalas :-)


    Thanks Duncan - The smudgy spots on my photos are quite often the main subject :-)

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  6. That's a smart looking beetle Alan. Like Denis, I think that second shot shows a great hoovering action! (-:

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