Monday, October 11, 2021

band of beetles

We have not played this game in some time.

Better than Family Feud. Almost as challenging as Jeopardy. It is Name the Critter from Steve's Patio.*

You have already met today's mystery guest. I met him this morning when I sat down in the patio recliner to read The Economist

Yesterday I had a brief conversation with a northern visitor who was buying a can of Raid at Hawaii. In six years of visiting Melaque, she had yet to encounter a cockroach.

That changed the day before. She was anxious to avoid a reprise. My stories about their nocturnal scalp-chewing habits did not help calm her concern. Because I cannot stop myself, I had to slip in a couple of scorpion stories.

While I was picking up the patio flowers and leaves that had fallen off of the vines during the night, the scorpion warning came to mind. Most of the leaves are dry and brown. Both Dora and I have picked up scorpions in the mistaken belief they were just leaves. Of course, the last time, I did that, I paid a ransom to the scorpion king (a hair of the dog).

That was my mindset as I sat down. Just as I was settling into place, I looked down. Something was on the outside edge of the recliner next to my left leg. All I could see was the tell-tale part of some creature.

This is the part where I should be telling you that my Canadian ancestry kicked in, and I carefully and safely stood off a distance to ascertain any possible danger. But I cannot write that -- because I did just the opposite.

The grade school boy who lives in my head and makes all of my decisions decided the best way to determine what was on the recliner was to poke and prod it, and to pick it up to get a closer look. And you know how that turned out in my previous scorpion tale.

As is the case in most of these encounters, the decision was the correct one. It was not a scorpion. But exactly what it was, I was  not certain.

So, I went back to high school and tried to remember the animal classification system we learned from Mr. Kilmer.

My memory served me well at the start. Just by looking at it, I knew its kingdom (animal), its phylum (anthropod), its class (insect -- because of those distinctive six legs) and its order (c
oleoptera; a beetle). Those long antennae gave away its family (cerambycidae -- a name I always have to look up).

Scientists, like pirates, are not very imaginative in their names. It is one of the many longhorn beetles. But which one, I cannot tell you.

My usual research tools failed me. One of the best is Google Images that can identify a photograph faster than a Communist Chinese Ideology Inspector. But not today. 

My search came up with a lot of options. The most-promising was this four-banded longhorn beetle.

But that beetle is a staff sergeant; mine is merely a PFC. I tried searching for one-band and two-band beetles, but the usual suspects did not provide a match. Even my insect identification book came up short.

So, I put the question to you. Do you have any idea what the name of this handsome fellow might be? (I can already hear two of you -- one in south England, the other in Mexico City -- ginning up a response. "A beetle name? Well, it has to be either John or Paul. No one remembers George or Ringo.")

For me, I am happy to just to call him a longhorn beetle that enjoyed a morning rest in my patio.

And why shouldn't he?

I am. 

* -- Jennifer is already sharpening her pen to point out that any reference to animals in Mexpatriate is a certain sign that I could not think of anything substantive to write about. Even with a tropical storm spinning out there in the Pacific. 

No comments: