Cucujus clavipes puniceus Mannerheim

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I found the ‘Red flat bark beetle (Cucujus clavipes puniceus Mannerheim)’ in my house on May 10, 2019 in Edmonton, AB, Canada. Based on the literature (Sformo et al., 2010), the larvae of C. c. puniceus can survive at temperatures of at least -150C (-238F), by transforming their body into glass-like state (i.e., vitrification). What an amazing strategy to overwinter in this northern country! And I suspect that many insects in this region have similar strategies.

Adult red flat bark beetles are known as predators, hunting tiny invertebrates under bark. Its dorsoventrally flat body enables them to access small crevice under bark.


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Sformo, T., Walters, K., Jeannet, K., Wowk, B., Fahy, G. M., Barnes, B. M., Duman, J. G., 2010. Deep supercooling, vitrification and limited survival to –100°C in the Alaskan beetle Cucujus clavipes puniceus (Coleoptera: Cucujidae) larvae.

Research Story

Today, I am very happy to introduce the newly created menu, Research Story. In this menu, I will try to summarize my recent published papers and ongoing researches in plain language with many photos.


Ground photos of different sizes of retention patches, harvested matrix, and intact forest (Forest detectives in the last photo are me and Bill Sperling in one rainy day).

So, I just posted my first research story about retention patch and saproxylic beetle conservation. Interested in reading this? Please click the link below.


MEXICO: 3. Santa Gertrudis, a tropical forest

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Beautiful tropical forest canopy. No doubt for higher plant diversity compared to boreal forest. But, how about invertebrates, especially dead wood-associated organisms?

I went on a field trip to the Reserva Ecológica Santa Gertrudis on June 17, 2015. It was a part of the program for 10th North American Forest Ecology Workshop (NAFEW). The Reserva Ecológica Santa Gertrudis is in the center of the Mexican state of Veracruz and is located 425 m in altitude. Based on the information of the official NAFEW website, it is one of the first privately owned reserves in Mexico. “Santa Gertrudis” occupies approximately 1600 acres (c. 650 ha), managed by the Hernández Ochoa Foundation, and it is created for biodiversity conservation.

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Green waterfall!

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Tropical forest in the Santa Gertrudis. I love this green diversity!

Yes, this was my first visit to the “tropical forest” in Latin America. This wet-forest showed me a full spectrum of beautiful “GREEN” colors. And I would like to show my first impression for this tropical forest.

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Katydid (Tettigoniidae)

*To see more photos of the Santa Gertrudis’ tropical forest, click the link below!

MEXICO: 2. Apazapan, a subtropical forest

On June 13, 2015, we visited Apazapan located in the center of the Mexican state of Veracruz. Unlike the Confre de Perote’s temperate forest, Apazapan was a subtropical forest located nearly 300 m in altitude. There were no pine trees in the forest, instead plenty of different kinds of broad-leaved trees and vascular plants were everywhere. Plus, we were able to find the ‘real’ natural pool with the help of Mexican friends and to enjoy swimming together. My first experience of subtropical forest in Latin America was just amazing! It was a full of happiness walking, breathing and feeling in this forest.

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Subtropical forest in Apazapan.

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Beautifully shining millipede!

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Finally, we found the best place of the Apazapan’s forest.

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Beautiful place in the Apazapan’s subtropical forest.

*To see more photos of the Apazapan’s subtropical forest, click the link below!

MEXICO: 1. Confre de Perote, a temperate forest

#Travel in Mexico: Confre de Perote (June 12, 2015)

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You can see the top of the Confre de Perote (4,282 m), which is the 7th highest mountain peak of Mexico!

I would like to share some photos of my exciting adventure in Mexico from June 10 to 19 with Drs. George Ball, John Spence, Jaime Pinzon, Colin Bergeron, and Enrique Montes de Oca. So, these six forest detectives visited the Confre de Perote, which is Enrique’s research site. Thanks again, Enrique to introduce this great place for us!

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An information brochure of the Confre de Perote!

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Potato field and trees of the Confre de Perote.

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Happy Mexican donkey 🙂

*To see more photos of the Confre de Perote, click the link below!

Upis ceramboides (Tenebrionidae)


Upis ceramboides (adult, dorsal view)


Upis ceramboides (larval head, dorsal view)

Upis ceramboides (Linnaeus) is known as a ‘roughened darkling beetle’ (a.k.a. Alaskan darkling beetle) because of a characteristic pattern of its elytra. This species can be found under bark of aspen (Populus spp.), birch (Betula spp.), and maple (Acer spp.) trees in North America, Europe, and Asia (Kaufmann, 1969).

I had a chance to take pictures of this species on a dead aspen log at the Ecosystem Management Emulating Natural Disturbance (EMEND) research site in Alberta, Canada. The larva was found under bark of aspen log. It is not quite sure what they eat in nature, however, it is known that larvae feed on a variety of foods (e.g., sweet potatoes, apples, cereals, cooked meat, dead insects) in the laboratory condition. Unfortunately, I was not able to observe its feeding habit since I collected the latest instar larva which was very close to the pupal stage.

Like many other invertebrates that are adapted to very cold temperature in Canadian boreal forest, U. ceramboides can survive up to -60 °C or lower. Interestingly, this darkling beetle produces non-protein antifreeze molecule called xylomannan (Walters et al., 2009).

Due to the extensive logging and habitat fragmentation, U. ceramboides has been largely decreased and designated as a ‘vulnerable’ species in the Swedish red list (Naalisvaara, 2013).

*Click the link below to see more photos!


Kaufmann, T., 1969. Life history of Upis ceramboides at Fairbanks, Alaska. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 62, 922-923.

Naalisvaara, R., 2013. Clear-cut and substrate characteristics important for the occurrence of the beetle Upis ceramboides. MSc thesis. Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden.

Walters, K.R., Jr., Serianni, A.S., Sformo, T., Barnes, B.M., Duman, J.G., 2009. A nonprotein thermal hysteresis-producing xylomannan antifreeze in the freeze-tolerant Alaskan beetle Upis ceramboides. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106, 20210-20215.

Introducing a new page: FOREST STORY

Alright, now I created a new page, FOREST STORY, in this blog. I wish to make a lot of interesting story and photos experienced in forests!

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Forest detectives in the snow-covered EMEND experimental forest with Dr. John Spence & Linhao Wu. (Sep. 9, 2014)

As a first story in this page, I posted ‘Forest detectives 2014’ with 40 photos. I hope the photos will give you some ideas about how forest detectives joyfully work in this particular time of the year in boreal forest of Alberta!

Click the link below to read!

Publications are updated.

A new page, PUBLICATIONS, are now created as of September 25, 2014.
My interests in science are biodiversity conservation, forest ecology, invertebrate ecology, beetle taxonomy, deadwoodology, etc. Check out the link below if you are interested in my publications.

Staphylinidae: Quedius sp.2 *Larva*

Rove beetle larva, Quedius sp.2, is uploaded.

*Click here to see more photos of Quedius sp.2


Cantharidae sp.1 *Larva*

Soldier beetle larva, Cantharidae sp.1, is now uploaded.

*Click here to see more photos of Cantharidae sp.1

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