Goliath Beetle

Goliath beetles are at the top of their game.

  • Goliath beetles are five species of large beetles native to Africa’s tropical habitats.
  • The scientific name of the Goliath beetle is Goliathus and it is from the family Scarabaeidae, the family of scarabs.
  • With an adult length generally ranging from 5 to 11 centimetres (2 to 4.3 inches) and a larvae weight reaching 80 to 100 grams (2.8 to 3.5 ounces), the Goliath beetle is one of the largest extant insects.
  • The diet of the larvae of Goliath beetles consists primarily of decaying wood and vegetation, while the diet of the adults consists of fruit and sap from trees.
  • Goliath beetles can be a black, brown, yellow or white colour, and they generally feature black coloured patterns.
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  • During the dry season, Goliath beetle larvae will pupate to become an adult, and they emerge in the wet season as beetles.
  • Male Goliath beetles boast a horn that is shaped as a ‘y’, a feature absent in females who instead have a head that tapers to a thin edge.
  • Goliath beetles tend to be inactive during cooler temperatures and become mobile on both foot and in flight when temperatures become warmer.
  • Some people keep Goliath beetles as pets, and when captive, the beetles will commonly consume cat or dog food, which is effective in providing the large quantity of protein that the beetles require for breeding purposes.
  • To fly, an adult Goliath beetle can extend its wings from the side of its body, rather than lift the wing shield-flaps up as most beetles do.
Bibliography:
Goliath Beetles, 2010, Australian Museum, http://australianmuseum.net.au/image/goliath-beetles
Goliathus, 2006, Natural Words, http://www.naturalworlds.org/goliathus/
Goliathus, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goliathus
Nelson B, 10 of the Largest Insects in the World, 2016, Mother Nature Network, http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/photos/10-of-the-largest-insects-in-the-world/goliath-beetle

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Plague Soldier Beetle

Harmless plague soldier beetles can recolour your garden!

  • Plague soldier beetles are flying beetles native to Australia, particularly the south eastern and south western parts of the country.
  • Plague soldier beetles have a mostly orange yellow body, that is covered with metallic forewings of a dark olive green colour, that almost look black, and the rest of the beetle is mostly black.
  • Plague soldier beetles have the scientific name ‘Chauliognathus lugubris, although they are sometimes known as ‘Chauliognathus pulchellus’.
  • Plague soldier beetles are named after their characteristic of plaguing during mating season, that occurs generally in summer.
  • ‘Plague soldier beetles’ are also known as ‘green soldier beetles’ and they are from the family Cantharidae, the family of soldier beetles.

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Plague Soldier Beetles
Image Courtesy of B Being Cool
  • Plague soldier beetle larvae live underground, eating insects, and transform into adults during spring.
  • Plague soldier beetles have colours that warn other creatures that they are poisonous, in that they excrete toxins, which is also used to prevent their eggs being contaminated.
  • At mating time, plague soldier beetles can be found swarming in their thousands, often totally covering plants and other areas, although they are said to leave little damage to the plants.
  • Plague soldier beetle adults are believed to have a diet of mainly nectar and pollen, although they also eat small insects and their eggs, and sometimes other parts of plants.
  • Plague soldier beetles live in habitats with significant numbers of trees like forests, and are often found in urban environments especially during the mating season.
Bibliography:
Plague Soldier Beetles, 2012, Museum Victoria, http://museumvictoria.com.au/about/mv-blog/?tag=chauliognathus%20lugubris
Plague Soldier Beetle, n.d, AustralianMuseum, http://australianmuseum.net.au/Plague-Soldier-Beetle
Pullen K, Insect of the week: The Plague Soldier Beetle isn’t nearly as bad as it sound, 2012, CSIRO, http://csironewsblog.com/2012/11/08/insect-of-the-week-the-plague-soldier-beetle-isnt-nearly-as-bad-as-it-sounds/

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Ladybug

A beetle… not a bug, or a bird.

  • Ladybugs are also known as ‘ladybirds’, ‘lady beetles’, ‘lady clocks’, ‘lady cows’, ‘lady flies’ and ‘god’s cows’.
  • ‘Ladybugs’ is one of the common names of the family Coccinellidae, which is a family of beetles, and this name is derived from the Latin word for scarlet, ‘coccineus’.
  • Ladybugs have mainly yellow, orange or red elytra, or hard wings that cover the true wings, with typically black spot markings, although some species of the beetles can be a single colour, like black, brown or grey, or have different coloured spots, or have stripes instead.
  • Ladybugs grow from 1 to 10 mm (up to 0.4 inches) in length, have short legs, and are usually a round or oval shape.
  • There are more than 5,000 different species of ladybug, and the most common type is the seven-spotted ladybug.

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  • Contrary to popular belief, the spots position, amount and size on ladybugs do not contribute to age but to species.
  • Most farmers like ladybugs as there are many species that eat aphids, scale insects, and other pests without any damage to the plant, although there are a few species of the beetle that eat and destroy crops.
  • The name ‘ladybug’ was named after Virgin Mary, also known as ‘Our Lady’, who was often painted with a  scarlet cloak, and farmers believed the beetle to be a miracle bug from God, because of its ability to eat and control pests, and some prayed to Mary to protect there crops.
  • Ladybugs can withdraw their head into their body for protection and can be prey to birds, frogs, wasps, dragonflies and spiders, although the bright colours of ladybugs warn predators to stay away.
  • A ladybug has an average lifespan of one to two years, which starts as an egg, develops into a larva, transforms into a pupa, and emerges as a ladybug, with a female laying up to 2,000 eggs in its lifetime.
Bibliography:
Coccinellidae, 2013, Wikipedia, < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coccinellidae >
Ladybugs, 2013, National Geographic Kids, <http://kids.nationalgeographic.com.au/kids/animals/creaturefeature/ladybug/>

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