Monday, July 9, 2012

Shiny Green Beetles Galore!

Ohio got pounded by the derecho two Fridays ago. I myself lost power, and the heat was terrible. But there was something good that came out of it!

June Beetles. June Beetles EVERYWHERE.

As I learned the next morning, Green June Beetles (Cotinis nitida) apparently like to emerge from the ground after a sustained rain, and boy did they come out! I saw at least a dozen in a small area, flying around a patch of clover and a fallen pine tree branch. 

"I'M GONNA GET YA!"

The females that were around had to deal with many males vying for some action. For the good of the species, of course.

With all these beetles flying around, it was a miniature treasure hunt for me. I caught a few to keep under observation, and one to pin for my collection. It had been a few years since I had found any living June beetles, and they're so pretty, so I was fascinated. These guys are like tiny helicopters whizzing around in the air when they take flight. When I first saw them, I was a few meters away and thought they were bumblebees...until I figured out that those would have to be terrifyingly massive bumblebees. After I saw the first, I saw another, and another, and another! It's always neat to see so many insects together like that; it helps you remember how they outnumber us.

Now it's about a week later. I went out into my yard tonight to check on a pitfall trap I had set, then strolled around with my beating sheet checking trees and shrubs for other insects. I stumbled upon some poop (we have so many furry critters running around the backyard--this is a very common occurrence), crouched down to look for dung beetles, and heard a loud buzz next to me. To my delight, I was staring at another green June beetle!


Isn't that the most beautiful June beetle you've ever seen? It looks like a tiger with all those stripes! Just, wow! I haven't seen this color variation before, super neat. I tried to catch it, but it flew off right after I snapped this photo. My legs are no match for those tiny wings. 

If I'm lucky, it will be back and I'll have another chance. In the meantime, I'll be on the lookout for more June beetles, and hopefully I'll get more variety than the Phyllophaga species that keep flying to my light at night!

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