Usually I ignore most insects. However, while hiking thed Trillium Falls Trail just south of Prairie Creek Redwoods National and State Park (CA), the red color of this flat bark beetle (Cucujus clavipes) caught my attention. I liked the color.
This beetle lives in forested habitats throughout most of North America, including Alaska and Northern Canada. It is generally found under the bark of deciduous trees, living or freshly cut, and in the leaf litter around cut and fallen trees. A phloem feeder, flat bark beetles seem to prefer poplar, ash and oak trees. They are also predators of other small insects such as mites. Since their prey species are damaging to timber stands, flat bark beetles are considered economically beneficial.
The dull to bright red flat bark beetle’s body is strongly dorsoventrally flattened with parallel sides. The head is triangular while the antennae and several leg segments are black.
Adults overwinter under tree bark, either singly or in groups. Flat bark beetles are adapted to survive extreme cold temperatures by producing antifreeze proteins and glycolipids.
Its bright red color introduced me to an interesting little beetle.