Beetles abound. Four out of five animal species are beetles! There are at least 400,000 different types and discoveries are made every year. (If I ever have a chance to discover a new species, I bet that it will be a beetle.)
Here are a few fun facts to illustrate the diversity of these creatures:
- The smallest known beetle, Scydosella musawasensis, has a body length of 0.325 mm or 0.01inches. It was discovered using a scanning electron microscope.
- A firefly or lightning bug (Lampyridae) is a type of beetle.
- The Diabolical Ironclad Beetle (Phloeodes diabolicus) lives up to its name and can withstand being run over by a car. A research team from Purdue University and the University of California, Irvine, discovered that during compression experiments, the beetle could withstand pressures around 39,000 times its body weight.
- Fire Chaser Beetles (Melanophila) move towards forest fires with purpose. They lay their eggs in freshly burnt, sometimes still-smoldering, wood. These beetles use their sensory organs to detect heat via infrared receptors to find the fires. One study suggests that they will travel upwards of 80 miles to lay those eggs. That’s dedication!
- The Palmetto Beetle (Eurycotis floridana) is a much nicer name for the American Cockroach.
- The Bombardier Beetle (Carabidae) is one of the smelliest animals on the planet. Try not to annoy it. The beetle mixes two chemicals that are stored in its body as a defense. The hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone combination achieve a boiling point, exploding into a stinky and sticky mass that is toxic to other insects.
What kinds of beetles have you seen today?
More about Diabolical Ironclad Beetle – https://www.sciencenews.org/article/diabolical-ironclad-beetle-exoskeleton-armor-impossible-squish
More about Fire Chasers — https://www.amnh.org/explore/news-blogs/news-posts/fire-chaser-beetles-sense-heat-from-miles-away
Bombardier Beetle — https://www.mtpr.org/arts-culture/2019-05-07/bug-bytes-bombardier-beetle