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Captains log: A new critter in the desert

Well, John got inspired to write another post - Yeah!!! Its actually from our time at Homolovi SP. So here's Johnny.......................

Our first trip after retirement was to the South West to enjoy the warmer climate and our new mobility. While we were in New Mexico, we discovered a new kind of water fowl: the coot. They kind of looked like ducks, but with beaks instead of bills and without the webbed feet. Very strange and, as many of you pointed out, very common.

My latest discovery is a desert bug a couple of centimeters long and solid black. It's easy to get a close look at it because it's active during the day, and slow. No camouflage and no speed. And no sense. If you get too close, it stands on its head. I thought maybe it was trying to hide by sticking its head in the sand, but that wouldn't be a great survival trick with its rear end stuck up in the air for all to see. Its last trick would be to moon whatever was about to eat it.

Our next stop was the Homolovi visitor center, so I asked the ranger what was up with the black bug. Turns out it's called a Pinicate, which I think means "black beetle", and it's a type of stinkbug. The stink glands are in the rear of the bug so standing on its head is the bug's idea of maximizing the stink and minimizing its appeal as a meal. This bug is also very common, at least in the desert. It was the highlight of our hike.


  1. Always lead with the stink, that's what I say.

    Future Old Coot

  2. Tooo funny!

    I guess it's kinda like the skunk raising it's tail... you all better leave him alone!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  3. LOL....

    That bug may look stupid, but if they are quite common, then the tactic must be quite effective on the attraction to predators scale. It always amazes me the diversity of defense mechanisms among critters.

    Away We Go

  4. We've seen these bugs do their acrobatics as well but had no idea what they were. Thanks for clearing that up for us John! Enjoy your time at the Grand Canyon.


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