Impurest's Guide to Animals #152 - Alaskan Darkling Beetle and Flat Red Bark Beetle

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Edited By ImpurestCheese

Well its official winter is no longer coming, it is here and its intent in bringing cold weather with it. Last week we had a royal visit from the Emperor Newt, as well as explored a new concept that nobody commented on. This week the blog follows the weather and plunges into the cooler with two cold warriors, hope you guys enjoy.

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Issue #152 – Alaskan Darkling Beetle

[1]
[1]

Kingdom – Animalia

Phylum – Arthropoda

Class – Insecta

Order – Coleoptera

Family – Tenboriondae

Genus – Upis

Species – ceramboides

Related Species – Alaskan Darkling Beetles are one of over 20,000 members of the Tenbrionidae Family (1)

Range

Alaskan Darkling Beetles are also found in areas of Southern Sweden [2]
Alaskan Darkling Beetles are also found in areas of Southern Sweden [2]

Soul of Ice…

Alaskan Darkling Beetles is a medium sized black beetle that lives under the bark of deciduous trees as both an adult and a larva. The adult beetles emerge from hibernation in late April or May depending on the weather conditions and will feed on rotting wood from a number of trees, before mating and then dying once the female lays her eggs. The grubs rapidly hatch and build up weight before pupating in order to survive their first winter. Because of the cold weather it may take years for the adult beetle to emerge from its pupa, and then it has to survive another winter before it is ready to reproduce, with the fully grown insects hibernating under bark, or in log piles near a ready source of food.

[3]
[3]

The Darkling Beetle survives the freezing cold temperatures thanks to a naturally occurring sugar based antifreeze, known as Xylomannan (2), in its blood stream. Before it freezes for the winter, the beetle forces the water from its cells and bulk loads with the chemical, so when the temperature drops it can freeze, a process that starts when it reaches about -28°C (-17.5°F), without its internal organs rupturing. In this state, the beetle’s body can be completely frozen both internally and externally surviving temperatures as low as -60°C (or -78°F) and successfully reanimate next spring.

But there’s more, as one of our beetles freezes, the other one decides to avoid it althogether…

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Issue #152a – Red Flat Bark Beetle

[4]
[4]

Kingdom – Animalia

Phylum – Arthroposa

Class – Insecta

Order – Coleoptera

Family – Cucujidae

Genus – Cucujus

Species – clavipes

Related Species – The Red Flat Bark Beetle is one of 59 species collectively known as Bark Beetles (1)

Range

[4]
[4]

…Heart of Glass

Red Flat Bark Beetles are, as their name suggests, medium sized flat bodied red beetles. The adults emerge in spring from their pupal stage, and feed on rotting wood before mating, with the female laying her eggs under a section of tree bark. Like the grubs of the Darkling Beetle, the Bark Beetle grubs hatch quickly, but don’t develop fast enough to pupate over the winter, instead choosing to hibernate under a piece of wood. Unlike the Alaskan Darkling Beetle however, the Bark Beetle grubs avoid freezing by starting their overwintering preparation as early as August (3).

[6]
[6]

As summer ends, the Bark Beetle starts secreting a natural protein based antifreeze across any external surface likely to freeze over the winter. As summer turns to autumn the grubs produce glycerol in their cells to reduce their water content to around 30% of their initial concentration in order to avoid their organs rupturing from the cold. If the temperature continues to drop below -60°C (-78°F), the Bark Beetles grubs internal organs vitrify into an organic glass like crystal in order to keep the internal organs from being frozen and exploding as the remaining water in their cells expand (4). Tests in laboratory conditions show that, in this state, the beetle grubs can be taken down to temperatures of -150°C (-238°F) before they freeze.

Bibliography

1 -www.arkive.org

2 - https://asknature.org/strategy/unique-antifreeze-protects-from-extreme-cold/#.WExaz-aLSyI

3 - http://www.gi.alaska.edu/alaska-science-forum/alaska-beetles-sruvive-unearthly-temperatures

4 - https://sydkab.com/2016/01/31/frigid-and-flourishing-freeze-proof/

Picture References

1 - https://1d59b73swr1f1swu2v451xcx-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/strategy/5797e8c7e111f7a085a852790a37d02f/273243826_eb3a16f4a7_o.jpg

2 - http://bugguide.net/maps/maps/101017.png

3 - http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/newsminer.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/2d/b2d594cf-b98b-584d-af08-12d38a1a44b9/50db716ad64d8.image.jpg

4 - http://bugguide.net/images/raw/H07/0FQ/H070FQ80JQ70YQRQURFKCRFKCRE0S0XQH0KQDRP000MQYR90JRXQ3R60L0IQL060YRLQOQX0FQ40YQ.jpg

5 - http://bugguide.net/maps/maps/7531.png

6 - http://ibycter.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/IMG_1784.jpg

Talk about being cold blooded!! Next issue is the last one of the year before my Yuletide hibernation, and as such I think we should celebrate that it’s the ‘ass’ end of the year. Until then make sure to critic, comment and suggest future issues as well as making sure you check past issues in Impurest’s Bestiary.

Season’s Greetings

Impurest Cheese

Want more IGTA? For another insect that braves the cold, click here to see the ‘oh so furry’ Isabella Tiger Moth. Or for something a little larger click here for the issue on the spectacular Snow Leopard.

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pipxeroth

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Nope. Back to beetles I hate.

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ImpurestCheese

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@pipxeroth: The last beetle was a request issue, these two were planned. Sorry you don't like them

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laflux

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That's absolutely amazing.

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ImpurestCheese

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@laflux: Yeah it is indeed. Was originally going to do those flies in the Antarctic, but they aren't as cold resistant as these two beetles

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Galactic_1000

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@laflux said:

That's absolutely amazing.

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black_wreath

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Very interesting beetles and just what I wanted to read on this hot-ass day.

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ImpurestCheese

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amazing_webhead

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cool stuff

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deactivated-5b5405244e89c

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Two for the price of one, you spoil us <3

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ImpurestCheese

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@bella_blackstar: Consider it a seasonal gift

@amazing_webhead: Qùite punny indeed

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Anna_Karenina

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I must say that I'm actually enjoying these articles about Coleoptera. :)

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ImpurestCheese

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@anna_karenina: Yeah I really enjoy writing about Coleoptera, they are my favourite group of insects. Thanks for the comment

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CaptainMarvel4Ever

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Oh wow that is super cool, especially the larvae

I may go out and look for some if I get the time. I'm always interested in Insects that fight through the cold

Side note, Pokemon needs a Bug/Ice type

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ImpurestCheese

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@captainmarvel4ever: It is something unexpected, most people assume cold bloodied creatures just drop dead in icy weather. Thanks for the comment.

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CaptainMarvel4Ever

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@impurestcheese: Huh... so then how do they think they come back year after year?

No prob, trying to make more time for these, especially after you took some time for me

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The_Kidd

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Cool, never heard of this beetle.

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FicOPedia

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@impurestcheese: Once they winterize, how do they undo the process? Is that something hidden in their under-bark hibernation, or do they spend part of the spring undoing it?

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ImpurestCheese

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@captainmarvel4ever: I don't know, a lot of people don't realise how important insects are to us, even now in the modern day

@the_kidd: Thanks for the comment. As you can see, they aren't impressive looking, so as such most people would overlook them. In this case its what's happening inside that is important

@ficopedia: Well the de-wintering process is activated by a gradual rise of temperature. As spring starts, the beetles will start producing chemicals to break up the anti freeze molecules that stopped their bodies from exploding. As that happens the water can return to their body cells, and they can effectively 'come in from the cold'.

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Major_Hellstrom

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Cool.

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ImpurestCheese

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CaptainMarvel4Ever

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@impurestcheese: Indeed, heck Einstein even once said without bees we'd only have 4 years left to live (not sure how that holds up today, but not the point). Heck even mosquitoes are completely vital to some parts of the world (he says to a zoologist)

Speaking of mosquitoes

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@impurestcheese said:

@major_hellstorm: Cooler then cool. Ice Cold!!

Nerd

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deactivated-097092725

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It's one thing to become frozen and reanimate oneself, but quite another thing to generate the ability to coat yourself in a kind of antifreeze to prevent freezing in the first place. That you get to be pristinelike in a glass kind of state takes it even further. Makes me think of Emma Frost, although because of its gorgeous colour, her alternate universe daughter, Ruby.

I would love to come across the black one. What an intricate design it has.

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KimandClay

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Hmm