Friday, July 26, 2013

Hairy Pine Borer

Hairy Pine Borer (c) John Ashley
The aptly-named Hairy Pine Borer (Tragosoma harrisii)

Hairy Pine Borer (c) John AshleyMost of our native beetles are stunningly handsome, which makes this homely one stand out even more. The Hairy Pine Borer (Tragosoma harrisii) is one of our native long-horned beetle species - and easily the ugliest beetle I've ever crossed paths with.

These beetles live in high-elevation pine forests across North America, from northern Mexico to northern Canada. Males and females both sport a shaggy collar of reddish hair on the thorax, between their head and abdomen.

The adults hide during the day but can be attracted to ultraviolet lights at night. They breed in dead pine and fir stumps, where their larvae bore into the rotting sapwood. Thus, they are seldom seen at any age.

Somehow, this sight of this beetle has me imagining an elder Albert Einstein - as a redhead. The eyes are different, yes, but the bald forehead and shaggy mane fit the description for both animals. Similarly, I used to hope that the shaggy red mane of my teenage years made me look uber intelligent, but now I know that it really made me look like a boring bug instead.

BEYOND THE BOYS: Way waaaaaaaaaaaay over on the other end of the continuum, you can join "The Bug Chicks" (two Oregon entomologists and teachers) as they travel across the U.S. with a vintage sofa to show us the fascinating world of bugs - right here in our own big back yard. Your support will help promote "positive programming, science, female role models, and fun, educational content." Sounds waaaay better than hanging with the boys...