Tasmania – Hairy Beetle Grub, and Unrelated Tiny Beetle

2014 January 4

Continuing with the Tasmanian photographs, this hairy grub was found under the same brick where I found the wood roach (nominally on June 18, 2013[1]). It was about a quarter-inch long, so not too big.

It only had the six true legs, and no prolegs on the abdomen, so I think it was a beetle grub.

Its body shape, and general hairiness, suggests to me that it might be some kind of dermestid beetle, of which there are many kinds.

This one doesn’t look quite like any of the common pest species of dermestids, so I expect it is one of the native Tasmanian species. If it is a dermestid, then it probably eats miscellaneous organic debris like most of the other members of the family do.

And while we were taking pictures of it in the kitchen, Sam noticed a tiny little speck on the table that was moving. Here is said speck, crawling on my knuckle. It wasn’t much over a millimeter in size.

Being so small, it was hard to get a clear photo, but one came out OK. It’s a beetle!

What kind of beetle? Well, you’ve got me there[2]. We aren’t even sure of the source. It might have been from the fruit basket on the kitchen counter (my parents raise their own apples and kiwi fruit, and it might have hitch-hiked in on one of them), or I might have accidentally caught it along with the roach or beetle grub without noticing.

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[1] I didn’t reset the clock in my camera while we were there, so this was the day that it was back in Michigan. Compliments of the International Date Line, in Tasmania it was actually the next day. Incidentally, this is why if you travel to Australia the plane schedule will indicate that it takes about two days to get from Los Angeles to Sydney, but coming back you may end up arriving before you left.

[2] I’d post it to BugGuide, except that they only deal with North American arthropods. And these are about as far from North America as it is possible to get without leaving the Earth altogether.

4 Responses leave one →
  1. January 5, 2014

    While it’s hard to beat home, I love the out-of-country updates!

  2. January 8, 2014

    Thanks! Incidentally, these are kind of appropriate for posting now, because they really are mid-winter pictures (just, not the middle of our winter!)

  3. Lisa Magri permalink
    March 19, 2014

    I found this beetle in pigs ears (for dogs to chew on) in a produce store in Coffs Harbour. Have never seen it here before. I’m concerned that if taken out of cold Tasmania and transported to hot humid NSW this bug could cause havoc. Within a week it had hatched and multiplied through my dogs dry biscuits. It should come out of the pet food supply chain and go back to forest logs as soon as possible.
    Thanks for your post, I sent it on to the store who supplied the pigs ears to me.

  4. March 20, 2014

    Lisa: Glad it was helpful. I kind of expect that these beetles have been all across Australia right along, you just happened to get unlucky enough for them to discover your pigs ears and dog biscuits this time. Still, it was probably good to let the store know that they have a problem.

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