Beetlemania

Beetle massacre?

A few kilometers makes a big difference. On my side of the village the beetles are certainly around but not in any alarming numbers, not that I can notice anyway. When I head to the primary school on the other side of the village things change quite a bit. It is hard not to run across one every couple of steps. The school itself seems to have a beetle infestation. There are heaps of dead beetles of various sizes in all the gutters and plenty more living in all the nooks and crannies of the structure. I don't know what attracts them to this particular spot or what causes them to die soon after arriving but it seems to be an annual event. The same sequence happened this time last year, the beetles come and then they go to the beetle graveyard of K-village to die.

This beetle was squirming helplessly on its back until I decided to take pity. Not so much as one thank you. That is one ungrateful beetle.

As I was stepping over a particularly large pile of dead beetles today, I made a mental note to do a little beetle research. Wikipedia was my first stop but to drill down more on South African beetles I went to this site. I am positive there are better ways of identifying beetles but as a layman I liked the format presented here. It starts of identifying certain beetles by what they eat such as cicadas or leaves. Then it moves on to identifying beetles by where they live and then it gets to some really interesting beetles. Categories include: "Beetles with explosives and poisonous chemicals", "Beetles that use 'aqua lungs' " and "Beetles that are erroneously reputed to be good for sex".

I'll only repeat one of the many interesting facts if you were not inclined to click on any of the links because I am sure your attention span fades every time you read the word "beetles". Ready for it? Ok here it is, beetles comprise the largest group of currently identified species. As of now, a quarter of all identified life forms are beetles which means there are a lot of types of beetles. I'll leave it at that for you to ponder on and to put in your mental vault for the next time you play trivial pursuit or even "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire". If you win money from that little tidbit on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" I fully expect a cut from it, for beetle research of course.
Socks and Underwear: Beetlemania

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Beetlemania

Beetle massacre?

A few kilometers makes a big difference. On my side of the village the beetles are certainly around but not in any alarming numbers, not that I can notice anyway. When I head to the primary school on the other side of the village things change quite a bit. It is hard not to run across one every couple of steps. The school itself seems to have a beetle infestation. There are heaps of dead beetles of various sizes in all the gutters and plenty more living in all the nooks and crannies of the structure. I don't know what attracts them to this particular spot or what causes them to die soon after arriving but it seems to be an annual event. The same sequence happened this time last year, the beetles come and then they go to the beetle graveyard of K-village to die.

This beetle was squirming helplessly on its back until I decided to take pity. Not so much as one thank you. That is one ungrateful beetle.

As I was stepping over a particularly large pile of dead beetles today, I made a mental note to do a little beetle research. Wikipedia was my first stop but to drill down more on South African beetles I went to this site. I am positive there are better ways of identifying beetles but as a layman I liked the format presented here. It starts of identifying certain beetles by what they eat such as cicadas or leaves. Then it moves on to identifying beetles by where they live and then it gets to some really interesting beetles. Categories include: "Beetles with explosives and poisonous chemicals", "Beetles that use 'aqua lungs' " and "Beetles that are erroneously reputed to be good for sex".

I'll only repeat one of the many interesting facts if you were not inclined to click on any of the links because I am sure your attention span fades every time you read the word "beetles". Ready for it? Ok here it is, beetles comprise the largest group of currently identified species. As of now, a quarter of all identified life forms are beetles which means there are a lot of types of beetles. I'll leave it at that for you to ponder on and to put in your mental vault for the next time you play trivial pursuit or even "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire". If you win money from that little tidbit on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" I fully expect a cut from it, for beetle research of course.

5 Comments:

Blogger Ryan said...

When some theologians asked J.B.S. Haldane what he could discern of God from his study of nature, he (supposedly) replied that God has "an inordinate fondness for beetles."

December 8, 2010 at 8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dung beetles are very prolific in my village and at my school. The saddest thing I see after the rains is the ants swarming and devouring a large and somnolent beetle. He never had a chance. I never thought that I would see this almost sci-fi event on a daily basis and that it would make me sad. The beetles are ugly and large, but the ants are mean and voracious.
B

December 9, 2010 at 4:05 AM  
Blogger Noah Prescott said...

It turns out we three have more in common than just chemistry nerdery. We also enjoy discussing beetles.

@Ryan - that is a great quote. One day I would like to describe someone as having "an inordinate fondness" for something.

@B - I tend to agree, the ants seem to overwhelm the defenseless beetles, and I can't help but feel sorry for the little suckers. I am hoping one of these days I'll see one of those explosive beetles just wipe out an entire nest of ants and it will all be worth it.

December 9, 2010 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger mrpresco said...

While I like discussing beetles and find the trivia fascinating, I choose to discuss the WHS blog. I was so very excited to vote after doing my fair share of wikipedia-clicking homework but alas I clicked to find out that I did not have a vote because the poll closed before I got back from my work trips. As punishment I am not going to tell you what I would have voted but know it would have definitely made your trip all the more with my vote. Instead, I am just going to complain. That is all.

December 13, 2010 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger Noah Prescott said...

Your comment is kind of like how some people treat real voting, except without the researching part. I'll have another poll someday. Just be snappy about it next time.

December 14, 2010 at 2:09 PM  

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