Fiery Searcher or Caterpillar Hunter
(Order Coleoptera, Family Carabidae)
Calosoma scrutator (Photos by Emmy Dudeck)
(Kansas: Sedgwick County. LaCrosse Apartments, Wichita. 37°44’59.18”N 97°15’38.18”W. At night on stairs. June 3, 2013)
Adult Diagnosis: This species is a very brightly colored and favored by many collectors. The bright colors and size make it a well-known species. Adults can be around 30 mm (1.2 in) in length. They are large and robust. The pronotum is very short and broad, can be metallic blue to green with margins of gold, red, or green. The wing covers, or elytra, are metallic blue or green with margins of reddish gold. The elytra is also striate and punctate. Their legs are dark blue. The underside is also the same metallic color of green, blue, gold and red.
Adult Natural History: Calosoma scrutator is a ground beetle that is predatory and eats caterpillars and other insects. You will mostly find them running around on the ground, but they do have wings and are capable of flight. Be careful when handling one of these because they actually give off a pungent odor that smells like garbage or road kill.
The life cycle is about one year, but some have been known to live up to three years! They lay their eggs solely in the ground, and the larvae pupate in earthen cells. Some adults can overwinter.
This species can be attracted to blacklight. They are found mostly during the months of April to August.
Calosoma scrutator distribution map from BugGuide: http://bugguide.net/node/view/389/data
Habitat: The Fiery Searcher likes open areas like fields and gardens, but they can also be found around deciduous forests.
Diet: This species preys on caterpillars and grub worms as larvae and adults. In captivity, some have been known to feed on fruit, especially bananas.
Conservation Status: Stable
Video: Caution! Eating of Caterpillars may be involved!
BugGuide on the Fiery Searcher: http://bugguide.net/node/view/389
Youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JI0015nmDk
Leng, Charles W., Beutenmuller, Wm. 1894. Preliminary Hand-Book of the Coleoptera of North Eastern America (Continued). The New York Entomological Society. New York, New York.
Mccullough, Thomas. 1966. Feeding Habits of Calosoma scrutator in Captivity (Coleoptera: Carabidae). The Entomological Society of America.
Larochelle, Andre. 1973. Notes of Ground Beetle Odors. The Coleopterists Society.
Submitted by: Emmy Dudeck, August 2013.