We’re starting a new column! Stay tuned for funky new mystery species with every newsletter.
Can you identify this ferocious-looking critter?
Clue: They are found underground around Arizona in early September.
Take a guess, then scroll to the bottom of this newsletter for the answer! (or however you want to do it)
Photo by Jessie Rack
Answer to this issue’s ARIZON-WHA?! Photo challenge:
If you guessed beetle grub, congratulations! Since it’s a white grub, we can identify this big chunk as belonging to the scarab beetle family, Scarabaeidae. Due to its size and the location where it was found, it’s pretty likely that this one is a baby Western Hercules Beetle, Dynastes grantii. Larvae of this species can spend 2-3 years as a crazy-looking underground monster like our friend up above, but once they’ve developed into adults they only live for 2-4 months. As grubs, they eat decaying plant material (that makes them decomposers, y’all!) but as adults they feed on tree sap by making a small wound in the tree (this doesn’t hurt the tree). I’ll give you a dollar if you eat it.
Have you seen weird nature stuff around Arizona? Submit your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org for the chance to have them published in a future edition of ARIZON-WHA?!
Jessie Rack is a Board Member at AAEE. She received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut in the spring of 2016. She is currently the Program Coordinator of the Supporting Environmental Education and Communities (SEEC) Program, an offshoot of the Community and School Garden Program at the University of Arizona.