Pimelia, the beetle that accompanies hikers

When we hike the various trails in Teide National Park we activate all our senses.  We can hear the crunch of the volcanic stone under our feet, we can see the majestic landscape, we smell the high mountain plants, we can feel the dry air on our skin and even taste the sulphur that emanates from Teide's crater.

Hikers have their eyes fixed on the horizon, observing the mountains, the Teide white broom, the rocks. Moving at a pedestrian's pace allows for a more detailed exploration of the environment than they can when passing by in a car.  However, we suggest that when hiking you look a bit farther down, at the ground, and spend a few moments getting to know your other trail companions: the insects.

Insectsrepresent the majority of the species found in Tenerife. To date 3,928 species have been found,  of which 1,277 are endemic. Many of these species are found in Teide National park. According to the Department of Animal Biology of the University of La Laguna, within the park's limits there are 1,052 species of invertebrates.   Among this huge population of insects, those with the most number of species include beetles(coleopteras), followed by flies (diptera), bees, bumblebees like the Anthophora alluaudi and wasps (hymenopteras).

If we have to highlight one beetle among all those that we can find in the summits of the island, this would be the Teide Pimelia (Pimelia ascendens). It is the king of the beetles in the national park. Its natural exclusivity and its abundance make it the faithful companion of hikers and visitors.  This beetle is easy to see, all we need is a bit of patience while watching the ground and we will see these black insects.

Although they are nocturnal animals, if we want to see them in the light of day we need to wait until spring.  Between the months of April and May, it is common to see them wandering on the ground near plants and dry branches. It's large size and black colour make it unmistakable.  It is an omnivorous animal that handles extreme temperatures very well and has its own defence mechanism against predators. When threatened, it secretes a dark stomach fluid which dissuades even the hungriest of predators.

And if we want to see it in greater detail, El Portillo Visitor's Centre, located at the entrance of the park, has a giant replication of the beetle that accompanies hikers.

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