Kids collecting

Educational event with school kids grades R-9 at Paradise Valley. Thanks kids for being so enthusiastic. One boy said, “I thought it was going to be boring, but it was so interesting!” I hear they went back to school and started digging for antlion larvae… That’s the idea, isn’t it?

Winning insect: a large longhorn beetle, the same species as on the back cover of the book.

However, I found my own special beast that day, crawling across a rock in the river: a rove beetle of the genus Paederus.

Rove beetle

Some members of this group are loaded with pederin, a nasty toxin that causes painful burns and blisters when the beetle is crushed on the skin. In fact, these insects could be the culprits behind the sixth plague of Biblical Egypt.

Um, I didn’t check whether this particular individual was toxic… I let it live.