Beetles in My College Alum Colors

Classy Clasping Coleopterans
Classy Clasping Coleopterans

War Darned Eagle. Orange and Blue. So until I can get a positive ID on this coital couple, they are Auburn Beetles.

Update 1146AM : Move over War Eagles, these are Elderberry Longhorns or Elderberry Borers or Cloaked Knotty-horns.

I’d headed out to get a shot of Ann’s Folly (maybe I’ll show you tomorrow) but got distracted by the Elderberry bushes in bloom beside the shed and then noticed these inch-long beauties (less the interestingly-ornate antennae especially for the male.) They were not particularly cooperative and I’d have preferred the Canon Powershot on macro instead of the D200 with the 18-200mm lens on closest-possible focus. So far, the species has eluded my attempt to drill down into the Order Coleoptera for a scientific name, so Auburn Beetle is their operating common name on Goose Creek.

Yet these pale into the realm of the ordinary if you take a look at this wonderful collection of beetles from around the world. (Show your kids!)

How weird am I? I spent almost an hour scrolling through these, musing about the differences in eye size and placement, front leg ornamentation and the like, wondering do those distinctive features MEAN anything with regard to function or fitness for their particular niche in nature, or are they neutral genetic variations that are neither here no there with regard to survival?

That not enough? Take a gander, kiddos, at these Insectimals! Whimsy. And art. And perhaps a little distance from the norm. What’s not to love?

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I knew you would love the beetles…Sorry I added to your distractions when you must have real work to get done…No, I’m not…Enjoy the girls and the creek.