Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Can't Make This Stuff Up

So in my job, I receive a lot of random e-mails from people. Since I am listed as the media contact on many news releases, somehow my name, phone number and e-mail get associated with the material I write about.

This is an e-mail I received last week. I wrote an article months back about a researcher at NC State that tracks a rare species of beetle that is killing avocado trees (Holy Guacamole! article for those who keep up with my riveting work). I guess this person saw that story and assumed I was the person to answer the following e-mail. And to answer your question in advance - I did not just laugh and delete it. I tracked down the correct person at the university to answer this important question. So you're welcome taxpayers of NC, I make sure to do my part to support our mission as "The People's University."

Ms. Barnhill:

I was searching for a picture of what I believe to be a beetle that I encountered earlier this week and have had no success in locating a picture and was wondering if you could help me.

After visiting a friend in Cary at the intersection of Tryon Road and Cary Parkway, I entered my car and felt that something was on my right leg. I had not changed from work and had hose on that evening. It was dark in my car so I could not see anything. I used my left hand to swat whatever was on my leg away and to my surprise when I pulled my hand up it is was stinging and had a cut on my index finger.

I turned on the light of my car, reached down to get a napkin and saw the largest bug/beetle ever on my leg. It was about 2 to 2 1/2 inches in length and about 1/2 to 1 inch in width. The color was a brownish black and the back was spiney (I think that is what cut me) and it was trying to bite/sting me. I did have a small area on my leg that was bleeding.

I immediately got out of my car and wondered how on earth I was going to remove this beetle off of me so I flicked it 3 times with my finger and it finally let go of my hose and fell to the ground. I tried crushing it with my foot (sorry but I've never seen anything like it before) but it did not faze the creature. It's exterior was extremely hard. I am sorry that I did not pick it up but honestly it reminded my of a prehistoric beetle. I grew up in southern Louisiana and have seen many things but nothing like this and I am very curious as to what it could have been.

I have been searching for 2 days but to no avail.

Is there a specific site that I could search to learn what I beetle I may have encoutered?

Thank you for your help.

xxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
(name deleted to protect the innocent)

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