It’s really a special moment when you catch a beetle preparing for take off. The hardening forewings (elytra) spread out so that the delicate, membranous hindwings can unfold. Whether on land or in the air, these up to 1.5 inch long beetles are hard to miss when they are around. When disturbed, they make a hissing sound by rubbing their abdomen against the inside of their wing covers. Other than some threatening hisses, they are peaceful plant eaters. As adults they feed on tree foliage and the larvae feed on roots of shrubs and trees. Males, like the one pictured, have large feathery antennae that help them find a mate. They can be found across the western half of North America and are attracted to lights at night.
Photo by Kristi DuBois on 7/21/20 in Missoula, MT.