The Fiery Searcher
Calosoma scrutator: Carabidae
the “Fiery Searcher” is a ground beetle in the family Carabidae. It is an iridescent green beetle with a fiery red border and a purplish iridescent thorax. These beetles live in open areas with some trees (including downtown Lafayette) and move along the ground to prey on other insects, primarily caterpillars. They can be beneficial for control of caterpillar pests in gardens. The beetles have scent glands that produce an odorous repellent chemical. The beetles can be reared in the laboratory but need a constant supply of caterpillars.
Brother Thomas McCullough* reported rearing them for a study, ran low on his supply of caterpillars and tested substitute foods. Earthworms were repellent and mealworms were accepted reluctantly. Surprisingly, bananas were a suitable food. Beetles fed bananas gained weight and lived for over 200 days. Many insect predators require a prey source to produce offspring but are capable of surviving on more abundant plant material. This can allow a predator to survive lean times or low prey density until the environment improves.
*THOMAS McCULLOUGH. 1966. Feeding Habits of Calosoma scrutator 1
in Captivity. ANNALS OF THE ENTOMOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA. 59(4): 864.
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