Friday, June 4, 2010

The One that Got Away (and Ancient Art)

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to walk to the bank. The thing I remember most painfully about this decision was the dismissive tone in which I told myself, "No, you don't need to bring the camera. You're going to the bank." Which, as anyone with any sense would ascertain, meant I came upon a nifty beetle on my way home. Despite geographical discrepancies (which I only discovered later) it certainly looked like a Neoclytus acuminatus*. In case you are wondering, I did not jump up and down and say, "Oh look! A Neoclytus acuminatus!" I thought of it, in my scientific fashion, as, "One-of-those-beetles-that-looks-kind-of-like-a-wasp. Subspecies: but-different-from-the-other-one."

I have proof, in pencil and watercolor, that I came across a somewhat similar insect (the-other-one) when I was at school. It would appear that I had no camera at the time, and, I hope, no midterms either. The penciled remarks, meant to supplant the inaccuracies of the depiction, have long since been rubbed into oblivion, but I seem to recall that one of them stated that the beetle was more slender and graceful than the drawing made it appear:

I don't know how closely related it is to the creature I ran into last month, but it had an odd, jerky, and waspish gait to go with the waspish stripes.

*As I understand it, these are an East Coast species, but the pictures on BugGuide certainly resemble the one that got away (it's hard to forget the bright stripes, the reddish cast of the shell, and a beetle with legs quite that long). A quick search for a related West Coast species turned up an animal evidently related, but not at all the one I saw. Suggestions greatly appreciated, as usual.

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