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Known Ivory-billed Woodpecker Prey

Late last June, I collected several beetles and larvae from a suspected feeding tree in our search area. An entomologist has identified one of the adult specimens as Hesperandra (or Parandra) polita. All the adults were the same species, and we presume that the larvae were as well, although we were not able to preserve them for identification. Parandra polita is one of the few species specifically identified from the stomach contents of Ivory-billed Woodpecker specimens.

According to the Birds of North America species account:

“Most of the animal material (45% of the total sample, USFWS files fide Tanner 1942a) was composed of cerambycid beetles. Two species of cerambycids were identified as Parandra polita and Stenodontus dasystomus . P. polita is a long-horned beetle that has been described as “rather rare” in the s. U.S., but common in Mexico and Central America (Doane et al. 1936), thus potentially providing a specific dietary link between Ivory-billed and Imperial woodpeckers. These beetles feed on the heartwood of old and weakened hardwoods.”

It’s intriguing to have found a known Ivory-billed prey species on a suspected feeding tree.

Edited to add: We may in fact have found two prey species on suspected feeding trees; the other was an adult eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus); Tanner found a click beetle larva fragment in a Singer Tract nest.

H.Polita

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