Pleasing Fungus Beetle

According to most any source I consult, it seems I must have been incredibly fortunate to come across not one, but numerous specimens of the normally elusive Pleasing Fungus Beetles. At the time I discovered the beetles I did not realize spotting Megalodacne heros in the daylight hours was anything special; I was simply delighted to discover a huge bracket fungi, the Hemlock Varnish shelf fungus (Ganoderma tsugae)!

The beetles were far from subtle. Measuring between 14-22mm and boasting bright orange and black patterning, it was easy to spot them as they moved to and from on their fungi buffet. At the time I was shooting with my Nikon CoolPixL120 point-and-shoot. Excited to discover such beautiful beetles, I clambered through the greenery until I reached the sizable stump on which the fungi grew (and consequently, the beetles thrived). Most of the pictures were taken as I leaned one foot high up on the tree, bracing myself and using my remaining leg as a sort of bizarre monopod.

The fungus beetles were engaged in feeding and mating - practices that seem to go hand-in-hand for these guys. Like the American carrion beetle, M. heros appears to mate where it lays its eggs - both the adults and larvae dine on the fruiting body of the host fungus.  

When I learned these beetles are generally cryptic in their behavior, I felt fortunate to have discovered them. When I learned I had been leaning against poison ivy while photographing them, I felt less fortunate.  

[Reference: FL Dept of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Div of Plant Industry - Pub. No. EENY-91]