Tuesday, June 21, 2016

ready for a fight



Photo by Rachael Eliot
OK, finally, celebrating the first full day of summer. The six-legged joy of the season is here, e.g. big insects are starting to turn up on my backporch. Just leave the lights on and see what comes to the party. 

This fierce looking giant stag beetle (Lucanus elaphus) was first identified and named in 1775 by the Danish zoologist Johan Christian Fabricius who specialized in "Insecta," which at that time included all arthropods: insects, arachnids, crustaceans and their ilk.

Worldwide there are about 1200 species of stag beetle. Only the males have the impressive Road Warrior armament that they use to feign and posture, even fight each other if they have to, over territory, typically a log, and the females which lack the bluster. This one seems ready for a fight, but despite their intense demeanor, they are actually vegetarians that eat tree sap or other sweet things.

The one on my finger has a fondness for purple plum pulp.


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