Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lacon rorulenta

Lacon rorulenta is a beautiful coppery-colored click beetle of the northwestern parts of the United States. The beetle itself is only about half an inch long and it's real color is black. It is the thick flat hairs covering its body that give it it's attractive color. Some of these hairs are coppery and others are black. They lay flat over the beetle's body somewhat like shingles so that the entire insect looks brightly colored. I found this individual a couple of weeks ago in the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness of Fresno County. This is a bit south of its known distribution but the fact that I was high in the Sierra doesn't make this too unusual. (Many northern species are known to work their way south at higher elevations.)

I was hiking early in the morning from Lake Nelson. The ground above 8,700 feet was frozen and a few small piles of snow were still on the ground from the recent storms that had passed over the Central Valley several days before. There is a rich forest of red firs along the trail at this elevation and it was under the bark of one of these fallen trees that I found the click beetle. Red fir has a thick furrowed bark that doesn't come off until the tree has been dead for well over a year. This picture is of the small red fir grove where I found the beetle.

Overall, it was 10 miles to and from Lake Nelson from the Cliff Lake trailhead near Courtright Reservoir. But the hike was well worth it. As the sun was coming up over the hills to the east, the lake reflected several shades of soft morning blue light with a thin layer of frost on the shore and mist coming from the water. It was a grand sight.


Anonymous said...

Everytime you show scenes from the Sierra Nevada, I get insanely jealous! Someday I will return.

Sam Wells said...

I've been here three years and I can tell it will take more than a lifetime to see it all.