Xestoleptura crassipes is a species of flower longhorn beetle. Taxonomically it is placed in order Coleoptera, family Cerambycidae. The species name “crassipes” means “thick-legged.” Adults are attracted to flowers (June-September) and larvae are wood borers, found in forested areas and associated with firs and oaks. Adult body length approximately 10-17mm.
I photographed this specimen on July 16, 2019. It was the only one on the daisy plant by my front door. On the morning of July 18, there remained the single beetle (or I believed it to be the same one). That evening, I observed a 2nd beetle feeding on an adjacent flower. This morning (July 19th, 2019), they were both gone. Perhaps this was a successful meetup for finding a mate. 🌼
Yesterday I had the extreme good fortune to be able to use the scanning electron microscope (SEM) at University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs (San Juan Island). We put a Cerambycid beetle under the SEM and “WOW,” the photos were phenomenal! Here’s a few for you to see. Below is a photo of the beetle’s compound eye. Just think of all the information each of those facets receives and processes.
Cerambycid beetle compound eye, imaged under scanning electron microscope at Friday Harbor Labs, San Juan Island, WA
Next, you see an image of the beetle head. It shows the antennal insertion points, the compound eyes, frons, clypeus, labrum, mandibles, and bristly setae.
SEM anterior, dorsal view of cerambycid head.
If you’re interested in learning more about the morphological features, here’s a pretty good diagram below for reference.
image from http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~legneref/biotact/bc-51b.htm
The last image for you is of the beetle’s tarsi (the foot). This is an important identification feature for many insects. Imagine that! When I was working on my masters degree from the University of Florida, I had an amazing taxonomy professor who was an expert on Coleoptera (the beetles). He created identification keys for Florida beetles and you can take a look at them here: http://www.entnemdept.ufl.edu/choate/beetles.pdf Well, I’m looking forward to using the SEM again and my next imaging will hopefully include the sponging mouthparts of a fly. Stay tuned!