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Calasoma sycophanta


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Probably. I doubt they pass up a good tent caterpillar or white marked tussock moth.

Most of the caterpillars were dying from the Entomophaga maimaiga fungus, which is clearly doing a better job than he is, so I don't feel too bad about taking him away.

Supposedly they live a long time as adults, 3-4 years.

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Here's some pictures that show the devastation caused by the Entomophaga fungus:

http://s1303.photobucket.com/user/salmonsaladsandwic/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpsoh1oacuz.jpg.html?sort=3&o=1

You can't tell from the pic, but those caterpillars are all dead or nearly so. After a few hours, they'll look like this:

http://s1303.photobucket.com/user/salmonsaladsandwic/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpsscpfcxmp.jpg.html?sort=3&o=0

The fungus is very effective and fairly host- specific. It is, however, kind of gross when every single tree and building is carpeted with dead caterpillars that ooze fluid and drop onto the heads of unsuspecting beetle- catchers.

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Cool! I really like the look of Calasoma larva, they look very sturdy, though in captivity they are not, lol!

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Well no, they just can't eat fast moving food, they need incapacitated crickets, isopods, etc. Basically slow moving food. Plus some species have random die offs as larva.

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Well, it turns out the beetles are much more abundant than I thought! I've located over a dozen more larvae and another adult beetle- only this one is a C. scrutator! I have seven larvae happily munching away on gypsy moth pupae.

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I realize that this probably seems boring to many people because caterpillar hunters are apparently very common in many areas... Yet somehow they have eluded me until now, so this is more exciting for me then it should be...

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It's not boring to me, unfortunately it does not seem like these range into ID, so I love learning as much as I can about them from other people! :)

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I think you do have at least one (plain black) calasoma species in Idaho.

I think it's really interesting how calasoma larvae, even though they don't look built for it at all, climb up the sides of trees in broad daylight to search for prey. I imagine its a recently evolved behavior and they will become more adapted for arboreal hunting with time. One thing I've noticed is that the grubs can climb vertically but not upside down, so all the gypsy moth caterpillars that decided to pupate on the underside of a horizontal branch remain untouched on a tree where most of the the pupae on the trunk have been torn to pieces by ravenous grubs.

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Yeah, but none of the brilliant green species, which I really love! :( Interesting, I have heard that the larva and adults can climb trees to catch caterpillars, though I thought it was more of a last resort.

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  • 2 months later...

Unfortunately all but one of the ones I kept shriveled up and died as pupae... My guess is some kind of fungus. I didn't know what their requirements were so I kept 4 of them moist and the rest fairly dry. The ones I kept moist died much faster than the others. All I have now is a single male C. scrutator, he's awesome and makes me wish more survived. :(

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  • 2 months later...

Sure seems that way... supposedly its easy to get calasoma to lay eggs if you mix caterpillar frass (which i've got plenty of, lol) into their substrate but all i have left are 2 adult beetles, both males and of different species. I found scrutator female before when i was collecting the larvae but she died (she was already quite weak when i found her) before the male emerged.

The male sycophanta i found originally and the male scrutator that pupated and eclosed successfully are both doing great. Probably my favorite insect pets right now.

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