Saturday, May 17, 2014

Riley Moore Falls

A cool front moved into the southeast this weekend, following the first real thunderstorms we've seen since moving back. It made for a cool day for a beetling hike, and the activity was pretty limited. We picked another off the long, must-see list of upstate SC waterfalls, Riley Moore Falls, along the Chauga River. The falls was low and broad, with small beach and fantastic swimming hole. Will definitely have to come back on a hot summer day.
Our friend Cicindela sexguttata was shivering beneath the bark of this pine, not even ready to face the day at 10:30.
This pine hosted what was probably our best beetle find of the day. As I was peeling bark a few feet away, Katie started aspirating vigorously, trying to extract something from a borehole. I came over and started picking away at the wood around the hole, opening it up a little more, and then finally between the two of us we managed to extract a quick melandryid, Serropalpus substriatus, I believe (needs to be confirmed under the scope yet). I was surprised to find that the eastern species is supposedly the same as the one I know well from California. But it appears to be. Our teamwork eventually yielded a couple more, although they were too feisty to photograph (see pictures on BugGuide.)

Investigating a small creek I happened upon some specialist carnivory in action. This is a beetle larva, thorax deep in a snail. I'm kicking myself for not having collected the larva (I hated to disturb its meal), but I'm not entirely sure what it is. There are also specialist snail predators in the Lycidae, Lampyridae, and Silphidae, all surprisingly similar in morphology, but I believe this is a carabid, Scaphinotus.
 A couple beetles spotted on the side of the trail: a lycid, Eros humeralis, I believe,
The lagriine tenebrionid Arthromacra aenea,
And a click beetle which I have yet to identify, but have seen on several trips around here.
Finally I'll close with a grab-bag of attractive and interesting non-beetles. The first one's a gorgeous caddisfly for our friend and colleague John Morse (yes, John, I collected it). [This has now been identified as a species of Phryganeidae in the genus Ptilostomis - Thanks, John!]
A very ant-mimicky fly, identified by BugGuiders as a stilt-legged fly (family Micropezidae).
And a truly bizarre caterpillar. At first I was thinking geometrid, but Chris Grinter tells me it's Erebidae, Phyprosopus callitrichoides, the 'Curve-Lined Owlet moth'. A picture of the adult is available on the Moth Photographers Group website.


  1. Nice moth! Erebidae, Phyprosopus callitrichoides.

  2. Katie Jo .....I am pretty sure you should NOT be aspirating beetles !

  3. Sounds like a good time! I just slipped Eros humeralis into my collection last night. Guess they're out in decent numbers. I also saw some pretty funky micropezids on the large oak beside Long Hall at this time last year.