One of the nice things about the hike up Pu’u Wa’awa’a is the selection of benches available for rest and contemplation, on the way up and at the top. This bench sits halfway up the steep slope that accesses the top of the hill. It gives a good view of Mauna Loa and the pastures on and around Pu’u Wa’awa’a. If you’re lucky, you might even see a dung beetle or three doing what they do.
When I first saw this bug, with its red back and gold sparkles, I thought for sure it was a beetle. But it turns out, it only resembles a beetle. It is in fact a cockroach, which left me with slightly less warm thoughts about it.
But it turns out that the Pacific beetle cockroach is quite interesting. It’s one of a few that are viviparous, meaning that it gives birth to live offspring. A couple of years ago, this cockroach was in the news because the ‘milk’ it feeds its young is a more complete food than cow’s milk and was being touted as the next superfood. Not that cockroach dairies were about to be set up, but the thought was that the protein crystals in the milk could be reproduced in labs.
This hasn’t happened yet, but who knows. I bet Gwyneth Paltrow is out there, milking cockroaches, even as I post this.
Thanks to Hawai’i Insect Identification for help in identifying the Pacific beetle cockroach. For more information about Hawai’i Insect Identification, go to flickr.com/groups/hawaii-insect-id/pool/.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘A Bug’s Life.’ (See more offerings here.) My last Sunday Stills post could have worked for this one, but instead I’m going with this fine-looking monkeypod borer beetle (Xystrocera globosa), also known as the raintree borer beetle among several alternative names. This longhorn beetle comes from southeast Asia where it is widely distributed.
As is often the case, it’s the larvae of this beetle that cause problems. They don’t tend to harm healthy trees but will bore into the sapwood of monkeypod trees that are distressed by drought or other reasons. While the damage caused is seldom enough to kill an entire tree, it can result in the loss of limbs.
This one hung out on a wall at work for a couple of days before it disappeared, possibly to a nearby monkeypod tree.
When I took this photo, I thought it was of two variable ladybugs mating. However, when I processed the photo, I noticed that the lower ladybug didn’t look the same as the top one. I think, instead, it’s a seven-spotted ladybug. I also noticed that that top ladybug is climbing up the side of the other one, which is not the usual mating approach.
So now I don’t know what’s going on. It could be that the top ladybug is trying to mate and has just got things seriously wrong. Or it could be a ladybug traffic accident, with the one bug getting in the way of the other. Perhaps they’re fighting. I guess I’ll never know.
This mango flower beetle wasn’t on a mango flower, but on a basil plant. It wasn’t exactly lost though. A giant mango tree looms over the deck where the basil plant is growing.
This ground beetle, possibly Carabus nemoralis, might not have anticipated finding a butterfly or moth squashed on a dirt road, but it wasn’t about to pass up a free meal.