In the summer of 1972, I was doing what I did every summer around then, which was to spend a few glorious weeks at a cottage my family rented around Lake of Bays, in the Muskoka district of Ontario. At the time I was 14 years old, and interested in jumping spiders, along with my brother Wayne. But then one fateful day I found a beetle on the wood siding of the cottage, just to the left of the sunporch door. The wood siding was a dark reddish color, and the trim around it was white. The beetle was vivid against the dark red. It was the most beautiful beetle I had ever seen, and I with a shaking hand quickly grabbed it. I didn’t know much about it at the time, but eventually I learned that it was a Buprestis, possibly Buprestis aurulenta (I haven’t tried to identify it, but I do know it is close to that species, at least).
That beetle is the oldest specimen I have in my collection. Sometime during my teenage years the beetle fell apart, and the elytra became detached. Even though it is now in pieces, it is still one of my treasures, because of my memory of the awe I felt in seeing its beauty as it rested on the side of the cottage.
I’m not sure if that beetle played a role in my becoming a coleopterist, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it did. It was about a year later that I started collecting beetles in earnest.
On Saturday I was near a small tributary of the Winchuck River in southwestern Oregon. I was on a delightful trip with my mother; we were exploring northern California and southwestern Oregon, seeing the sights, collecting beetles, eating good food, and staying in nice places. The Winchuck River stop was one of our lunch & collecting spots, along a gravel road in a beautiful forest. There, beside the road, was a little patch of daisies. On one of the daisies was the Buprestis pictured below. It was the first time I had seen a Buprestis like this alive since that day in 1972, and I must say my thrill at seeing one in 2014 was almost as great. They are wonderful animals.