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Amblycheila


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I'm taking a trip out to visit my dad's side of the family next week and by chance will be camping at a known collection site for Amblycheila tiger beetles. Has anybody collected them before or have any tips for finding them? I'm thinking of laying out a bunch of pitfall traps and just searching around with a flashlight at night and flipping rocks and logs by day, but I'm not even sure whether these are noctural or diurnal beetles or whether they are usually found in association with wet areas (around streams or lakes) or in dry areas. Anybody know anything about them and their habits?

 

Crossing my fingers!!!

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i have a few in my collection(i got them from orin last july) they are nocturnal,they like it on the drier side too,they are very aggressive feeders :D fast moving,simply awesome beetles,they can live 2 years or more,i'm having a blast keeping these guys,they look like.....what else mini manticoras! i would love to get more for breeding,i don't know how easy it is w/them.mine are seperate now,don't want them to pick on eachother,so we'll see,if i get more i'll give it a try.but you should find these gems where you will be,under rocks,boards etc,mine are always hiding,except at night.i hope you find some.hope this little info helps you. ps. they are pretty good sized too. kinda like a big omus(which i want aswell) :)

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Thanks for the info. guys. That .pdf is fantastic and I look forward to reading it in its entirety tonight! I found another file specific to the area I will be in and these beetles sound not rare in that location. My confidence is nearly as high as my level of excitement! It sounds like my timing couldn't be better (or luckier) for the trip. I'll have two nights to turn up a handful of them and will let you know how it goes.

 

Thanks again!

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  • 2 weeks later...

My trip was slightly disappointing in terms of Amblycheila, but maybe this short account will show that all is not lost and possibly have a familiar ring in the memory of other collectors.

 

I read the links other members shared above with great interest, along with a few others I made time to research in the final moments before the trip. In short, the planets seemed to be aligning for me to find the beetles. I would be in the right place at the right time.

 

I spent two nights camping around a lake that they have been found at. The first night I found a half dozen Pasimachus ground beetles, sometimes referred to as warrior beetles. A contact told me through email yesterday that their name translates to "universal warrior". Interesting, and certainly a fitting name. I also found a small Trox hide beetle. It was smaller than the species that Orin and I collected in Arizona two summers ago. A 17mm green ground beetle seemed a loner about 30 feet from the edge of the lake and unlike any I'd seen previously. A couple small tenebrionid darklings were found under bark that had been stripped from a tree. Aside from a very prevalent species of ant (and mosquitoes), beetles were the most numerous and certainly the most diverse insects to be found.

 

The second night was more exciting. Earlier that day I'd made a trip around the lake to scope out some more suitable habitat. I found sagebrush in much greater abundance on the other side of the lake, the soil was sandier and there was still plenty of grassland. I resolved to try my luck at night.

 

Aside from the aforementioned plants, Eleodes suturalis (tenebrionidae) was also said to be found in association the Amblycheila cylindriformis at this site. The tigers are said to be nocturnal and can be found out ambling around at night. So, I did what I always do...road-cruise. With headlights on we (my dad and I and my two sleeping kids in the backseat) we drove the road around the lake. It wasn't raining, the associated plants seemed perfect, the Pasimachus beetles were nowhere to be found (I'd predicated they might be outcompeted by the Amblycheila), and finally...another good sign. We found 5 or 6 Eleodes suturalis! My languid expectations took a huge upturn, but time constraints (sleeping children out past their bedtime) limited my results. At one point we stopped the car to investigate a large dark spot in the road and it turned out to be the run-over remnants of the target species (see below).

 

The story may seem like a failure, but really it was a success in a lot of ways. I began with good information (thanks again) and was then able to identify all the associated markers in the habitat. Finally, I did encounter one specimen!

 

It was most interesting to see how much the tiger beetle did appear to resemble the darkling beetle E. suturalis, as one paper had indicated it did. The mandibles, however, were in no way comparable. They were impressive! It's almost like this beetle is a cross between a Pasimachus and an E. suturalis.

 

I'm going back next year. Lastly, locals (my uncle) tells me that the weather in the preceding 30 days had been approx. 20 degrees cooler than average and considerably wetter. Indeed, much green grass was thickly covering the areas between the sagebrush. It is easy for me to assume that less rain would mean more and easier to see, tiger beetles.

 

Here is the run-over specimen:

ambycheila.jpg

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