The Ten-lined June Beetle is a large (up to 3 cm) beetle that I associate with very warm summer nights. This beetle spends most of its life as an underground grub feeding on roots. In sandy soils they can be a pest on orchards, and here they can do some damage to strawberry patches. Adults are leaf feeders, although they seldom consume enough to become pests. The latin name (Polyphylla decemlineata) Many-leaf ten-strip, refers to the peculiar antennae of the male. When stressed the male folds the seperate "leaves" of the antennae together, as shown in this picture. When relaxed (he didnt get to the relaxed state during the photography session), they seperate into a series of leaves, like the slats of a venetian blind. These structures are used to detect female pheremones. Larvae can take as long as 4 years to reach the adult form.
Two biologists on a beautiful property armed with cameras, smart phones and a marginal knowledge of websites took up the challenge of documenting one species a day on that property. Join along! Posts and photographs by Leah Ramsay and David Fraser (unless otherwise stated; started January 1, 2014.