Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Desert Boy Finds a Stinkbug

This lovely upended creature is called a stinkbug. It's a beetle in the Tenebrionidae family, which contains about 1,400 species in North America. In general they're called darkling beetles, but beetles of this genus, Eleodes, are called stinkbugs, and about 100 species are found in the western United States. They are scavengers, eating the leftovers that no one else wants. They are about one and a half inches long and easy to spot as they creep around a variety of habitats. 
When the stinkbug is upset, it sticks its rear up in the air. If it gets really mad, it can squirt a stinky brown liquid. I've never seen this happen, despite trying to provoke some stinkbugs. If you have seen a squirt, I'd like to hear about it! Okay, that gives you an idea of what life is like out in the middle of the desert, I get amused by watching stinkbugs wander around and wondering if I can make them squirt.
Here's a good view of that pointy behind. Some people call these clown beetles because they look like they're standing on their heads. They can live up to 15 years, an age that seems quite old for such a tiny creature. Because they wander around and are easy to see, they are eaten by mice, Loggerhead Shrikes and another stinky critter, skunks. 
Speaking of stinky critters, here's Desert Boy. He sees the stinkbug and can't resist trying to catch it. Is he coordinated enough to actually grab it?
Getting closer, he's determined to grab it.
Success! Now Desert Boy has the wiggling beetle in his hands. He likes feeling to learn about new things, but he likes tasting even better. So will he do it, will he eat the stinkbug? (For those of you saying that I should be intervening at this point, I have to say I was just enjoying myself too much. And after all the dirt he had eaten that day, I figured a little extra protein wouldn't cause any harm.)
Did he eat it? I'll let you decide.


grandma said...

Nope. It tasted ucky.

flatbow said...

Judging from all the "food" on his face, why not? Or is Desert Boy a blooming "lithovore"?

Anonymous said...

Henry must not have been around. No doubt, he would have snatched up that yummy morsel first!

Anonymous said...

I think Desert Boy ate the stinkbug. Me and my sister like to play with pill bugs.
Karla A.

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