Fiery Searcher Beetle
Grassy Ridge Bald, Roan Highlands, NC/TN
The Gray's Lily was scarce at best on Grassy Ridge Bald but I did find this Fiery Searcher beetle, Calosoma scrutator, covered in morning dew. Also known as The Searcher or Caterpillar Hunter, it is one of the largest ground beetles reaching up to one and a half inches long. It's considered a helpful species because it eats caterpillars that can be damaging to trees like the tent caterpillar and the gypsy moth. If attacked they will emit a bad odor and can bite if handled although they can't do any real harm. Adults can live up to three years.