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Flight of the feather-horneds

February 25, 2020

For two weeks of the year, the last week in February and the first week in March (give or take depending on the season) the Feather-horned Beetles (Rhipicera sp.) take flight and the air is filled with these large, slow-flying insects (pictured below). The male sports large feather-like antennae which it uses to detect a mating pheromone emitted by the female beetle. The female beetle has simple rod-like antennae.

Feather-horned Beetle (Rhipicera femorata) DSCN6934

Little is known about these insects so to repeat a previous blog it is thought the larvae of this beetle are parasitic on the larvae of cicadas. The white patches on the exoskeleton are actually tufts of hairs. I think it is a case of a picture speaks a thousand words!

z Feather-horned Beetle (Rhipicera sp.) DSCN6905

My challenge this year is to take a picture of the female beetle. Not as impressive in the antennae department but a key part of the story.

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