State investigators continue to investigate a suspicious emerald green beetle photographed by a then 10-year-old Tarrant County boy.
Entomologist Mike Merchant, who is among a team of scientists leading the state investigation said there is a strong chance the beetle photographed by now 11-year-old Sam Hunt is an Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect that has killed millions of ash trees in the United States.
“I think it’s probably 70 to 90 percent sure that’s what this is,” Merchant said.
Sam took the photo in his family’s back yard in North Tarrant County, not knowing at the time what it was.
“I had no idea what it was I just thought it looked really weird,” Hunt said.
Sam uploaded the photo to an online database for naturalists where scientists in other states and countries eventually spotted it, identifying it as a possible Emerald Ash Borer.
“It just shows that if you get out in nature and look around for things you might find something that is worthwhile,” Hunt said.
His parents said they are not surprised by Sam’s discovery and hope his passion for the outdoors will continue.
“He takes picture of everything,” Sam’s father Joel Hunt said. “Things that most people, all of us would bypass,” Sam’s mother Jenny Hunt said.