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The big and the small of it

May 14, 2013

DSCN0909 - CopyBeetles belong to the order Coleoptera (from the Greek koleos meaning sheath and ptera meaning wing). The name describes the two hard wing covers that protect the flying wings underneath. The Coleoptera make up more than 30% of the total number of animals on earth. So you would expect they would come in all different shapes and sizes.

This was evident when I was riding my bicycle recently and was hit in the helmet by a Rhinoceros Beetle (Dasygnathus trituberculatus), (pictured above), a member of the Black Scarab family. At over 3 cm long it is not the biggest beetle around, but it is large enough to give you a loud thump on the head. The male beetles have a single horn on the front and two forward-facing horns on the thorax. The horns are used for digging and for fighting other males during the mating season. These beetles, gram-for-gram, are some of the strongest animals on earth in terms of load-carrying ability.Cryptoplus sp maybe - Copy

Compare that to the weevil (species unknown, pictured right) that invaded our picnic a couple of days after my bicycling encounter. At barely 2 mm long, this weevil is one of over 60,000 species worldwide. Weevils are herbivores — which is why you might have found them frolicking in your flour canister. So when I found this critter on my sandwich, it was a relief to know it wasn’t after the salami. That’s my favourite bit.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    May 15, 2013 8:53 am

    Are the same as the weevils in my flour? and I am not that philosophical when I find them in the bin!
    The weevil in the picture is cute though and they are amazing to watch and inspect when I find them outside….
    Great photos Ron!

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