Tasmania – Bark Beetle Grub

2014 January 18

Like the bugs from last posting, this beetle grub was also found under the bark of the decaying log (in fact, you can see the mating bug pair from last time right there next to the grub’s head)

We can tell it’s a beetle larva, and not a caterpillar, because it only has the three pairs of true legs in the front, and not the “prolegs” running down its rear portion that a caterpillar would have.

It also has more prominent mandibles than a caterpillar would have, although not the big, aggressive mandibles that a predatory grub would have. This one looks more adapted to eating rotting wood. Which, considering where we found it, is no surprise at all.

I expect it is one of the superfamily Tenebrionoidea, which as far as narrowing it down to species is a lot like spotting an animal and saying, “Oh, look, a mammal!”. While the adult beetles are often distinctive in one way or another, when they are grubs we have the problem that one generally-tubular eating machine looks a lot like another. All of the grubs in this superfamily are pretty similar, so it could be some kind of darkling beetle, or a flower beetle, or a long horn beetle, or any of several thousand other possibilities.

But, anyway, it is certainly representative of the sort of thing you find under the bark of dead trees.

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