Mud Grub

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About

Common Names
Mudgrub
Named for their larval stage these large insects are a common agricultural pest in regions where wetland or flood plain agriculture is the norm.

Description

Classification
Arthropod, Insect
Size
2-4 centimetres (1-2 inches)
Appearance
The adult phase of this agricultural pest is a long bodied beetle with a brown-blue iridescent shell. Larval stage is a soft fat-bodied pale blue with a distinct grey-brown head.
Sexual dimorphism
No significant visible difference between the sexes.
Variance
Multiple subspecies exist across the full range of this insect.

Ecology

Habitat
Tropical to Sub-Arctic - Prairie, Grassy Wetlands
Diet
Larva - Roots and shoots of grasses and grains. Adults - Grass Leaves, Flowers, Grains, Smaller insects

Behaviour

Social grouping
None.
Temperament
Oblivious as larva, Skittish as adults.
Intelligence
Negligible.
Reproduction
The adults produce a unpalatable acrid musk which deters depredation. Adults remain active until the first autumn rains, at which time they mate and lay their eggs which winter in the soft mud. These eggs hatch and the grubs eat the roots and young shoots of plants until they pupate and emerge as adults during the first of the dry months.

Sub-Species

Regional variance across the full range of these insects.

Domestication

General
Considered an agricultural pest, which damages the young shoots of mudgrains and other wetland grasses. In the wild, they are prey to a host of fish, amphibians, and birds, which are less numerous in agricultural wetlands. Their depredations can ruin entire crops, so the grain patties are diligently raked before planting to remove as many as possible.
Resources
Some people will eat fried mudgrubs, supplementing a meagre spring diet with needed protein.

Stories

See Also