Saturday, March 24, 2012

What's fuzzy, yellow, and looks like a beetle but buzzes like a bee?

...a Bumble Flower Scarab Beetle (Euphoria inda) of course! (As if I knew that...) This cool bug is another for me that fell into the "what the heck is that?" category...


A Bumble Flower Scarab Beetle (Euphoria inda) clings to a sign at a nature preserve in Fairfield Glade, Tennessee.

When you look closely at this bug, you find a a fuzzy, yellow beetle with maroon stripes on its abdominal segments. It sort of looks like a moth whose wings took a turn for the worse, but really the body is not moth-like at all. It has armor plating like a beetle...a scarab beetle to be exact, and its antenna are definitely not feathery like a moth's but instead have plate-like lamellae at the end like a beetle's. The elytra (the hard outer wings that protect the hind wings) have a mottled brown, yellow and black pattern on them, and even though they are also a bit hairy, really show it's a beetle. Matty, Ron (my father-in-law), and I studied this guy for a while trying to figure out what he was. Eventually we moved on in search of a few caves, and I took a few quick shots so I could go back later and ID him...

This Bumble Flower Beetle must have just woken up from his long winter's nap and crawled out of the spot where he overwintered. It was warm, and he seemed to be soaking up a little sun.

...turns out, I didn't have to ID him. My friend, Paul Krusling, knew what he was and sent me a link to the hairy bug on BugGuide.net (click here). I wonder how many other people out there were not familiar with Bumble Flower Beetles? If he were a rare bug, I'd feel better not having known what he was, but he's not. He's one of the most common members of the scarab beetle family! However, I may have seen him before but just didn't know it. The Bumble Flower Beetle gets his name because when he flies, he looks and sounds like a bumble bee. So maybe you've seen one too without knowing it!

(Matty and I just returned from a little spring break in Tennessee visiting my mother- and father-in-law in Fairfield Glade, about an hour west of Knoxville. I'll have a few more posts about springtime in Tennessee over the next couple of days.)

To learn more about the Bumble Flower Beetle (Euphoria inda), click here for a cool fact sheet from Utah State University.

27 comments:

Montanagirl said...

I had never even heard of such a thing! I learn so much from your blog! Beautiful shots too by the way.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh My ---I've never seen that beetle before. You got some great pictures...

It was great catching up with you when you were visiting our area.

Hugs,
Betsy

Roy said...

A hairy beetle! Who knew? Heh, heh. That's the first I've ever seen, too. Great shots!

Sarah Knight said...

That's an interesting bug!

Debra Anne of The GIPSY in the PARLOUR said...

he is so cute, fuzzy!! I am always on the lookout for interesting insects ;-)

TexWisGirl said...

this is like the platypus of insects! so cool but so weird!

Carol Mattingly said...

That little guy looks to be ready for battle all decked out in his yellow armor. Love this post Kelly. Carol

Janice K said...

I've never seen one of those before, but I sure will keep my eyes open and not just assume everything fuzzy is a bee.

Lois Evensen said...

I certainly had never seen this hairy beetle before. What a neat post. :)

Jain said...

aMAZing! I've spent more than a few hours thumbing through insect field guides but don't recall seeing this guy before - even on paper! Thanks for a cool post!

Wanda..... said...

I'd never even heard the name, Bumble Flower Beetle, before!

Gillian Olson said...

I have never heard of nor seen this insect before. These are great pictures. Thanks for the info on it.

Elaine said...

That's a new one for me, too. Interesting little critter.

Dan Huber said...

Never heard of it - how cool. I will keep my eyes peeled. I love the shots and learning new critters

Tammie Lee said...

such a wonderful critter to see~

KAT said...

that guy looks prehistoric to me. These insects are so interesting though. great photos as always. I managed to win a second d place from Wild Bird Centers photo contest. I have to get over there and spend my 50 dollar prize money on a bird house. and some seed. It was a photo I took last year of a praying mantis...have you any info on them ? they are supper interesting to me.Ill be on the look out for those this summer

- KAT -

- KAT -

Hilke Breder said...

Fascinating beetle, particularly those bristles growing from the hard thorax. Great shots, Kelly

Chris said...

What a cool little thing. i had never seen it before but it's beautiful;-) Well done!

Mary said...

wow...never seen one of those before! Very interesting little bug.

Guy said...

Hi Kelly

This is just great, I have never seen one of these beetles. It did remind me that this summer I want to get back to being the kid with the mason jar looking for bugs (I was catch and release even then) but now I have a camera.

Thanks
Guy

KaHolly said...

What a terrific find!! I've never seen such a critter! Great photos!

the cuby poet said...

Bumble Flower bug beetle is an amazing little fellow. Thanks for the info.

Jerry said...

Great stuff! I learn so much reading your blog.

Kelly said...

Thanks, everyone!! Every time I go outside it seems something new comes along. I'm not sure my brain can handle much more information! :-) That's the fun thing about nature...I'll never know it all...or even a tiny bit of it!

Ren said...

My 32 year old daughter was turning some soil in the garden( east of Winnipeg, Manitoba,Canada) when she said to me...hey dad come take a look. She said is that a bee? It had been buzzing and digging.I have been gardening since a child, and middle aged now, I'm definitely a nature buff and always amazed to be finding new creatures,but didn't have an answer for my daughter. Thank you for the great photo as well as the links. Now I know what we found. :)

mandy ransom said...

Hi I'm from England and found these beetle bees flying around my roof and chimney , and I was wandering if they r harmful . I've never seen them before and just wanted to know and find out more about them they seem to be nesting somewhere on top of or in my house they only come out as the sun is setting and like to fly into the hedge and some trees around my house they bump into thing so they can't fly very well if anyone could tell me a bit more about them that would be great :)

Kelly said...

@ Ren - cool....it's amazing what's out there. Every time I venture into the woods...or fields...or even my backyard, I learn something new! Thank you!!

@ Mandy - Here is a link to a fact sheet on the beetle. It doesn't appear to be harmful. http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/bumble-flower-beetle2011.pdf
You might want to have a professional check it out, though. It might be something else.