August 22, 2008

Neomida bicornis: in ur pycnoporus tunnelin ur context

Photo (c)2005 by Jim McClarin, courtesy of BugGuide.netWhile dissecting some galleried Pycnoporus cinnibarinus this morning, I found another teneb that I hadn't encountered before. It's a horned member of the tribe Diaperini called Neomida bicornis (more info here). It looks exactly like the photo shown here except, of course, much much smaller. The male I found was 3.25mm long, 1.75mm wide and 1.15mm deep. It's the first beetle in Tenebrionidae I've collected from a Pycnoporus. Previously, I've collected a few Anthribinae from that fungus. The sporocarp from which I collected this beetle came from a spot in Wachusett that I've been checking since April.

While examining the insect, taking measurements and such, I dropped it on the black-speckled linoleum floor. I then spent about 20 minutes crawling around looking for the thing. You have no idea how quickly a tiny, dark-colored beetle can disappear, and it's the only one I've recovered so far. Since it's in Diaperinae, is apparently a context tunneler and doesn't damage the hymenium, it may prove to be an important data point for my overall work. Next week, I'll sequence it and see if it has a mutation in common with it's relative, Diaperis maculata.

Now that I know where to find them, I'll keep going back to that spot for more specimens. As small as they are, it will probably take a few tries to get clean DNA sequences and build solid consensus contigs. We shall see.

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