The high altitudes are the home of this Pleasing Fungus Beetle where undisturbed rotting wood loaded with fungus supplies a tasty buffet.
This species of Pleasing Fungus beetle is found in the mountains of select western states. The higher elevation sustains a different ecosystem compared to lower altitudes, and this insect takes advantage of the rotting wood found on the mountainsides. Its steely gray elytra (wing coverings) are speckled with black dimples much like the small depressions seen on golf balls. Its head, pronotum, and legs are black.
As its name suggests, the Pleasing Fungus Beetle enjoys fungus as a food source. It is often spotted walking around, on, or under rotted logs, tree trunks, and branches. A female even lays her fertilized eggs on fungus. When larvae hatch, they stay on that fungus and eat it. Larvae look very different from adults. They are more worm-like with spiky fringe around the edges of their black and white tubular bodies. They molt several times leaving behind exoskeleton 'skins'. When ready to pupate, they hang onto the last 'skin'. Look for these discarded remnants under logs or branches where adults are seen; they tend to stay relatively close to offspring and younger beetles despite being in different life stages.
This beetle is most active in the summer and can be found in forests, along creeks and streams, or in wooded canyons, especially in areas with moisture, which is helpful for fungal growth.
Scientific Name: Gibbifer californicus
Size (Adult; Length): 12mm to 20mm (0.47in to 0.78in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.