Kaibab National Forest ranger takes first known picture of rare beetle

If you've never heard of the Typocerus gloriosus beetle, you're not the only one.

Until this summer, it had never been captured in a photo.

Kaibab National Forest Ranger Art Gonzalez was out with his family on the Williams Ranger District when he came across an earthen stock tank, where he spotted a beetle that piqued his interest.

He snapped a photo and uploaded it to iNaturalist.org, an online platform to document and identify plants and animals.

Boris Büche, a beetle expert on iNaturalist, identified the observation using The Cerambycidae of North America.

“In 1976, no more than five specimens were known to science," he said. "It is readily identified by its colour pattern, being one of the most beautiful, and most scarce Longhorn beetles on U.S. territory.”

For Gonzalez, known as "birding4fun" on iNaturalist, photographing unknown animals and insects taps into his natural curiosity.

“All those feelings of excitement I got from the chase, identifying new birds, and visiting new locations happened again as I caught the iNaturalist bug,” he explains. “Now I find myself trying to identify just about every living organism I walk past, which makes for some seriously long short walks. Despite my years of being outdoors, I am blown away by how many more life forms I have learned to identify in just the last few months.”

The Kaibab National Forest began a citizen science project encouraging visitors and employees to post their plant and animal photos to iNaturalist at the beginning of this year.

To participate in the forest's project, visit Kaibab NF 2017 Citizen Science Project on iNaturalist.org.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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