01 May 2010

Ironclad Beetle, Colorado Bend SP

Yesterday's adventures at Colorado Bend State Park brought us a ton of bugs. Several were cooperative, but one really stood out.

Sneak preview:

(from Matt's TX-butterfly post)
San Saba County - Excellent butterfly conditions

In order as encountered:

Papilio cresphontes, Giant Swallowtail
Battus philenor, Pipevine Swallowtail
Papilio glaucus, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Papilio polyxenes, Black Swallowtail
Pontia protodice, Checkered White
Euptoieta claudia, Variegated Fritillary
Strymon melinus, Gray Hairstreak
Zerene cesonia, Southern Dogface
Copaeodes aurantiaca, Orange Skipperling
Junonia coenia, Common Buckeye
Limenitis archippus, Vicerory
Hylephila phyleus, Fiery Skipper
Atalopedes campestris, Sachem Skipper
Polygonia interrogationis, Question Mark
Libytheana carinenta, American Snout
Euphyes vestris, Dun Skipper
Abaeis nicippe, Sleepy Orange
Colias eurytheme, Orange Sulphur
Phyciodes phaon, Phaon Crescent
Celotes nessus, Common Streaky-skipper
Callophrys gryneus, Juniper Hairstreak
Danaus plexippus, Monarch
Vanessa atalanta, Red Admiral
Nathalis iole, Dainty Sulphur
Agraulis vanillae, Gulf Fritillary
Anaea andria, Goatweed Leafwing, very worn
Vanessa cardui, Painted Lady
Vanessa virginiensis, American Lady
Pygus communis/albescens, Common/White Checkered-Skipper
Celastrina ladon-type, Spring Azure, lovely above blue female flew right on by me, my first in TX certainly not the continent..
Megisto cymela, Little Wood-Satyr
Astercampa celtis, Hackberry Emperor

Other insects of personal interest:
Zopherus haldemani, Ironclad beetle

several genus Lycus spp, "net-winged" beetles

[end of e-mail]

EDIT: + Lycomorpha pholus, Black-and-yellow Lichen Moth

Lovely little yellow smile, eh? Down the trail in the background is a blurry Matt. But the critter isn't moving. For a species profile on the Ironclad Beetle, here's the Texas Ento page. A bit of google-fu reveals nocturnal habits, playing dead, and some species being decorated and worn as jewelry (couldn't find any photos, sorry).

This individual was stationary in the middle of the path, photogenic as anything. Eventually Matt did poke it, and as suggested by species profiles, it played dead. While we really don't have anything to contribute to the background information on this critter, one thing is pretty clear: Ironclad Beetles are gorgeous. Unmistakable in size and coloration, Zopherus haldemani is stunning.


  1. Wow, there's no way you'd mistake that for any other beetle. It might as well be carrying a sign.

  2. Upon that well-trodden trail, it was slightly conspicuous.

  3. I salivate at the thought of finding one of these one day!

  4. We just found one on our back porch. My son says it's the "coolest bug of all."

    Anybody know why these are also called "Blister Beetles?" I see the names interchanged and am wondering if my skin is in danger of a blister.

  5. Hi Lucy! I've never heard of them being called 'blister beetles' ...perhaps there's another critter being confused with them? Standard "blister beetles" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blister_beetle ) are an entirely different bug. No worries with handling the ironclad!