This strange looking beetle is likely the Black Meloe (Meloe niger). They are active primarily in April and May. As you might guess from their short, stubby wings, the adults are flightless ground-dwellers. With their comically bloated abdomens, it would be amazing if they were able to get off the ground even if they had larger wings. If handled and squeezed, they employ a chemical defense that will blister your skin …so better to observe and not touch.
Peter observed this individual digging a hole and trying to get away from him on the trail above the “L” on Mount Jumbo. We wonder if the individual was a female, as females dig a hole into which they lay thousands of eggs.
Size: Body length 8 mm – 29 mm
Photo by: Peter Lesica on 5/7/22 in Missoula, MT
Photo by: Melissa Mathis on 5/8/22 in Greenough, MT