Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Horning In

It's that time of year ... when the rhinoceros beetles appear (family: Scarabaeidae).  And I don't mean just one or two.  No, multitudes of these giant -- and by that I mean fist-sized -- creatures congregate around the lights by the Gallon Jug Airstrip.  They move like wind-up toys and are relentless (and totally harmless to humans, it should be noted). 

It is always interesting to me that these giant beetles seem to spend a lot of time upside down, legs flailing in a vain effort to flip over.  Even with an assist, some seem doomed to upending again.  Is this evolutionarily "smart?"  Apparently, it works because they appear year after year.

My neighbor, Alan Jeal, snapped this series of images of a male rhino beetle -- note its impressive "rhinoceros horn" -- feasting on the newly planted elephant ears in Gallon Jug.  For size reference sake, well, they aren't called elephant ears for nothing -- they really are (almost) that big.  Thanks Alan!

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