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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Three Beetles

Three beetles I found around the house:

The first beetle is Cotinis mutabilis, called commonly around here the green peach beetle. When they are alive they fly clumsily during the day often running into solid objects. You can see the dorsal surface of the beetle is cracked and all scratched up. When they are dying, they are often found upside down sometimes spinning in circles. When they are alive, they feed on fruit and nectar. They lay their eggs among rotting organic matter in the soil and so their larvae (grubs) grow underground until late spring when they emerge. I first noticed these grubs when I did some early spring digging and came across a bunch of them feeding on the previous October's buried pumpkin mush.

The second beetle is likely to be in the subfamily Melolonthinae, the May and June beetles. It entered my house at night and buzzed around in the dark while we wondered whether it was a large moth. Next morning I found its body next to the kitchen sink in a small pool of water. These nocturnal beetles emerge in late spring, mate, and lay eggs in the soil. Some of the grubs are pests of lawns and other ornamental plants as they eat the roots.

The third beetle is encased in acrylic, a bit of "real dead beetle" jewelry. Few think it is important to acknowledge the species of creature they use to make these trinkets, but I found several references to beetles similar to this one called Green Chafer Beetle. Trichiotinus bibens, a species found here in the U.S. looks like this one; the items seem to be imported from Thailand but its not clear whether their local species are used or the bug bodies are sent there for the acylicizing process. Are the beetles raised in captivity for the purpose of making this jewelry, or are they captured in the wild as they attempt to feed or mate?

Anyway, I wonder if any or all of these got their beetle business done before they died.
RIP beetles.

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