Smaller June Beetle (and another tree frog)

2015 March 14

I’m still calling this one a “June Beetle”, even though Sandy found it in her new raised-bed garden on July 12, 2014[1]. While it looks a lot like the big beetles that come to our porch light in May and June, it was only about half as big (closer to half an inch long than to an inch).

I’m pretty sure it is one of the Phyllophaga, but identifying it to species evidently is most easily done by looking at the genitalia. Unfortunately, my pictures don’t show much of anything along those lines, the tip of the abdomen is smooth and featureless.

The beetle probably has to be squeezed to make the genitals pop out.

Anyway, it was perfectly safe to handle, with no aggressive mouthparts to bite with, as we can see by looking at its face.

And, I see now that I didn’t get a good picture of the antennae either, so odds of an ID just dropped further.

But, since all the Phyllophaga have very similar lifestyles (live underground as white, C-shaped grubs eating plant roots, and only emerging as adults for a short time to breed), I suppose a complete ID isn’t crucial.

In addition, here’s something that we found the next day (although it is otherwise unrelated). It was sunning itself on the steps leading up to the hunting blind/playhouse in the back yard, and allowed itself to be picked up and handled pretty freely.

Even though it was a fairly vivid green, it was evidently a Gray Tree Frog (which come in a variety of shades).

I expect that the frog would have been quite happy to eat the beetle if they had been introduced, seeing as how frogs have enourmous mouths and can swallow things that are a large fraction of their body size[2].

(given half a chance, he’d eat you, too, and everyone you care about![3])

[1] By the time July has rolled around, calling them “May Beetles” like in most of the rest of the country is getting progressively more ludicrous.

[2] Bullfrogs in particular are well known for eating startlingly large prey, like birds.

[3] When I was a kid, we had a subscription to a kid’s magazine that ran a whole series of stories about Baba Yaga. In addition to her, and her cat, and her chicken-legged house, the stories included all sorts of other miscellaneous monsters. One of the prominent ones was a demon frog big enough to eat people. The illustration of it trying to drag a hapless boy into its gaping mouth has kind of stuck in my mind for all these years.

3 Responses
  1. Carole permalink
    March 14, 2015

    Wonder if the availability of food may affect the size of the beetle.
    Lovely frog.

  2. March 15, 2015

    Gorgeous frog!

  3. March 16, 2015

    I admit that I, too, thought the frog was prettier than the beetle.

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