Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 51

The Naturalist’s Eye
By Marcia Bonta

There are more beetle species than any other form of insects, and beetles comprise one fifth of all living species on earth. It’s a real honor to have one named after you, too.

Beetlemania
ONGRATULATIONS, Mom!” Furthermore, he wrote that “the etythe email from my oldest son, mology is given in honor of Marcia Bonta, Steve, said. “You finally have an organ- author and naturalist.” This followed the ism named after you, Semiotus detailed description of the photo by Dr. Sam Wells marciae. Semiotus is a genus of beetle in Kolepterologische very large tropical click beetle Rundschau (translated as the and S. marciae is a species Coleopterological Review), a from Ecuador. Your beetle is German journal that includes large (about one inch) and an English translation. very colorful, like all Semiotus. Needless to say, I was You’ll probably end up in quite thrilled by the honor of hava few collections.” ing a species named for me, Steve is an amateur enand was reminded of my early tomologist specializing in studies of the history of Pennbeetles. His friend, Dr. Sam sylvania’s natural history. They Wells, is a professional enstarted shortly after we moved tomologist who works at the to our mountaintop home Western Field Technology in west-central PennsylvaStation of Bayer Crop Scinia four decades ago, when I ence in Fresno, California. began learning the names of His specialty is click beetles. all the creatures and plants Because one of my favorite that lived here. One of the insects is the eyed elater click first birds I identified was the beetle Alaus oculatus, a salt and eastern phoebe — Sayornis pepper-colored beetle with phoebe — because four pairs two large black false eyes on nested on ledges inside our its pronotum (front part of the Semiotus marciae garage, old outhouse and thorax between the head and guesthouse, and on the side the abdomen), I was pleased of the springhouse. to learn that I would have my own orange The eastern phoebe is one of three and red click beetle — “Marcia’s click phoebe species in North America that beetle” — as Steve called it. includes the western Say’s phoebe — SayJANUARY 2012 51

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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012

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