Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Wildlife Wednesday May 2020

Investigating the decline of a potted agave is the subject of this May's Wildlife Wednesday post.

First task was to dump out the pot.  The agave was in bad shape, with many crowding pups, so no loss.  But it was a surprise to discover large tunnels in the soil under the agave.  Watson, the game is afoot!

And there was a resident of those tunnels, which revealed itself to be an Ox Beetle.  At least according to iNaturalist which I am learning to use after taking an online class sponsored by the San Antonio Botanical Gardens.  Online gardening classes are a bright spot in the current status of staying at home more.

These Beetles are huge!  Biggest I've seen in the garden.

They are said to dig holes about a quarter in size.  This exit opening was much larger. some Japanese film from the 60's.  The bug that ate my agave.  But really, it was just tunneling.

Ox Beetles are native to an area ranging from Florida to Arizona.  For observation we placed it on the bottom of the pot.

Most likely a male, he was easy to flip over for a moment to show the detail on his belly.  Nice pecs.  Note the eyes on the end of protruding thingies.

(NOTE: No Beetles were harmed in the making of this blog post.)

Ox Beetles are beneficial in the garden because they recycle decaying vegetation and aerate soil.  So this guy simply took advantage of the root bound agave and likely caused no harm at all.

After enduring a bit of our hassle he was happily released into the garden and not expected to return.

Doe, the female deer, are hanging around the compost waiting for treats as I do a lot of springtime cleanup.  They just dropped their fawns.  Probably hungry.  Hi girls!

Wildlife Wednesday is hosted by Tina at "My Gardener Says..." on the first Wednesday of each month.


  1. That's really interesting about your beetle. I'm not familiar with it; always good to learn about a new critter. He is a big fella and those eyes, they creep me out a bit, but I'm glad you're good with sharing space with him. Say hi to your dear deers!

    1. A bit creepy, he was quite large.

      I will let the deer know you're thinking of them.

  2. I was quite ready to believe that beetle was a bad guy as he looks armed for battle.. I'm glad to know that he was harmless.

    1. Yes, I have since learned that the larvae can destroy plant roots. Agave roots grow back easily so that's not a problem.

  3. So 'eyes at the end of the thingies' is the scientific term? Love it!!! Enjoy your weekly stories.

    1. Thank you, I am not much of a scientist though I am getting more interested through gardening and observing.


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