Beetlemania

J.B.S. Haldane, a  British-born Indian scientist in the early 20th century, when asked if there were anything that could be concluded about God from the study of natural history, replied “An inordinate fondness for beetles.” There are 380,000 catalogued species of beetle, making them the most species-rich group of insects—and insects are the most species-rich group of animals.[1] 

Beetles are some of the creatures that the rains also bring out and I thought it interesting to present you with those that we have found in our garden in Harare. I trust that you will enjoy the pictures.

A few of what I believe are Darkling beetles:

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anomalipus-elephas-large-armored-darkling-beetle-copy

Large armoured darkling beetle, Anomalipus elephas.

 

Darkling beetles belong to the family Tenebrionidae. Like Tenebrio, the beetles seek dark places, demonstrating a preference for the absence of light.

Another Tenebrid beetle, the Striped Tok tokkie, Psammodes striatus -below- tap out a rhythm on the ground to attract and locate mates.

psammodes-striatus-striped-toktokkie-copy

 

Below is a rather nice beetle that was found while walking in the neighbourhood and was returned to the wild after the pictures were taken, after it had a look at its close relatives in the Southern Africa insects book from where it is absent, as shown below…

Small Goliath beetle, Cheirolasia burkei.

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The beetle visiting relatives…

Below is the first Giant Longhorn beetle (Tithoes confinis) we have seen, after a “close encounter” with our Jack Russell bitch that clearly won the fight as the beetle lost a few legs and one of its antennae, regrettably. However, it managed to fly off after I took the pictures. I am really impressed by its mandibles!

 

Below, a female of the Orange-Spotted Fruit Chafer, Mecynorhina passerinii:

mecynorhina-passerinii-the-orange-spotted-fruit-chafer-copy

Rhinoceros beetle, Oryctes boas, is a nice-looking beetle that, regrettably, is a pest of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). The insect burrows into the tree’s trunk and is difficult to control, causing about 2% of the losses of coconut palm trees along the Kenya Coast.

 

 

[1] http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21646647-why-are-there-so-many-species-coleptera-beetlemania

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