[The following is a guest post by Rob Mitchell]
Rob here, back again with your answer to this week’s mystery… not that you need it! And here I thought I was being tricky. Six points to FormicidaeFantasy for hitting the order, family, and genus, and another four to Gordon Snelling for making quick work of the specific epithet.
This beetle is a female Neoclytus tenuiscriptus, an uncommon little denizen of the American southwest (or the Mexican northwest, depending on where you’re standing). According to Hovore’s ’83 monograph, the larvae bore in Baccharis, and specifically, can be found in mulefat.
Many of the clytine longhorned beetles, such as Neoclytus and Xylotrechus, break the cerambycid stereotype and can throw the public and an unwitting entomologist for a loop. The short antennae, prominent pronotum, and lanky hind legs have led to this and related beetles (such as Neoclytus acuminatus, below) being mistaken for grasshoppers!