Nature

The Beetles story

Print edition : March 31, 2017

The giraffe weevil (Cycnotrachelus flavotuberosus). Weevils are a type of beetle and they are a menace to crops. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Water beetle. The Cherokees believed that this beetle created the earth. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Mehearchus dispar of the family Tenebrionidae. The Eleodes beetle of Mexico belongs to this family. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Net-winged beetle. Forty per cent of all animal life on the earth is beetles and weevils. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Tiger beetle, Cicindela catena. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Tiger beetle, Cicindela (Cosmodela) cf. aurulenta. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Stag beetle, family Lucanidae. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Stag beetle, Odontolabis sp. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Chafer, Dicronocephalus wallichii. Photo: Geetha Iyer

A male rhinocerous beetle, Xylotrupes gideon. It hisses when disturbed but is harmless. Photo: Geetha Iyer

A beetle with its elytra, or forewings, open, exposing its inner membranous wings that are used for flying. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Scarabs were revered by various cultures, especially the ancient Egyptians. An Indian scarab, Mimela sp.

Scarabs were revered by various cultures, especially the ancient Egyptians. An Indian scarab, castor seed beetle (Anatona cf. stillata). Photo: Geetha Iyer

Scarabs were revered by various cultures, especially the ancient Egyptians. An Indian scarab, Melolontha sp. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Click beetles are generally nocturnal and are plant feeders. Here, a click beetle of the Cryptalaus species. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Click beetles are generally nocturnal and are plant feeders. Here, a click beetle of the Cryptalaus species. Photo: Geetha Iyer

The colours of jewel beetles (here, Chrysochroa sp.) are produced because of the phenomenon of interference of light when it falls on their elytra. Photo: Yeshwanth H.M.

The colours of jewel beetles (here, Chrysochroa sp.) are produced because of the phenomenon of interference of light when it falls on their elytra. Photo: Yeshwanth H.M.

Jewel, or metallic wood-boring, beetle (Catoxantha opulenta). Photo: Geetha Iyer

Scarab, Popillia cupricollis. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Scarab, Mimela sp.

Scarab, Anomala sp. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Scarab, Anomala sp. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Scarab, Anomala sp. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Scarab, Popilllia cyanea. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Light falling on the chitinous layers of a beetle's elytra produces shining colours, which are called structural colours, and they do not fade. This is a concept carmakers are studying for use in car paint. Here, Popillia sp. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Light falling on the chitinous layers of a beetle's elytra produces shining colours, which are called structural colours, and they do not fade. This is a concept carmakers are studying for use in car paint. Here, Trigonophorus sp.

Light falling on the chitinous layers of a beetle's elytra produces shining colours, which are called structural colours, and they do not fade. This is a concept carmakers are studying for use in car paint. Here, a leaf chafer (Rutelinae family). Photo: Geetha Iyer

Australian jewel beetle (Julodimorpha bakewelli) trying to copulate with a beer bottle. Researchers found that beetle numbers were declining because the male beetles were dying while trying to mate with the bottles, which they mistook for the female of the species. Australian beer companies solved the problem by changing the design and colour of the bottles. Photo: Courtesy: Darryl Gwynne

Stag beetle, Prosopocoilus cf. occipitalis. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Stag beetle, Hexarthrius sp. Photo: Geetha Iyer

A beetle (family Meloidae) showing reflex bleeding from a joint, that is, it produces the poisonous substance cantharidin. This is a a defence mechanism in many beetles. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Pollinator beetles in an arum plant. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Leaf-chewing beetle. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Defoliator beetle, Calopepla leayana. Photo: Geetha Iyer

The beetles of the family Chrysomeloidae (leaf beetles) also have iridescent elytra. Here, a leaf beetle of the Merista species. Photo: Geetha Iyer

The beetles of the family Chrysomeloidae (leaf beetles) also have iridescent elytra. Here, a leaf beetle of the Merista species. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Insects are capable of adapting to changing habitats as their survival for millions of years has shown. Here, a leaf beetle. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Insects are capable of adapting to changing habitats as their survival for millions of years has shown. Here, a leaf beetle. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Studies indicate that the diversity of dung beetles is on the decline in India and in Europe. Dung beetle, Paragymnopleurus sp.

Studies indicate that the diversity of dung beetles is on the decline in India and in Europe. Dung beetle, Copris magicus. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Studies indicate that the diversity of dung beetles is on the decline in India and in Europe. The elephant dung beetle, Heliocopris dominus. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Dead prawns cleaned up in 30 minutes by scavenging scarab beetles in a forest in Arunachal Pradesh. The site at 7:30 p.m. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Dead prawns cleaned up in 30 minutes by scavenging scarab beetles in a forest in Arunachal Pradesh. The site at 9 p.m. Photo: Geetha Iyer

White beetle. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus. Photo: Geetha Iyer

A weevil pest on an okra (ladies' finger) plant. Photo: Geetha Iyer

Leaf-rolling weevil, family Attelabidae. Photo: Geetha Iyer

The elytra of weevils are so finely designed that any sculptor who sees them would likely break into a dervish whirl. Photo: Geetha Iyer

The elytra of weevils are so finely designed that any sculptor who sees them would likely break into a dervish whirl. Photo: Geetha Iyer

The elytra of weevils are so finely designed that any sculptor who sees them would likely break into a dervish whirl. Photo: Geetha Iyer

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