Friday 25 May 2012

Violin Beetle

Image: Dr. Arthur Anker
If it's smooth, curvy and made of wood, it's probably sexy. I'm right, aren't I? I haven't revealed some weird fetish thing about myself, have I? Nah... We all want to strip off and get into our fancy dan, wooden bathtub, feel the silky textures against our increasingly raisin-like skin... oooooh! Mmmm...

It's like tree-hugging taken to the next level. Only with more tree-corpse.

Image: Wikipedia
Violin Beetles are a bit different. This is no Stradivarius. If this is a violin, it's battered, broken and the strings are sprawling out all over the place.

Violin Beetles are five Southeast Asian beetles in the genus Mormolyce. They get their common name from looking utterly bizarre. They craned their neck and put a tiny head at the end. Then their wing cases went mad such that they take up a ridiculous amount of space for no apparent reason, like an unreasonably massive dress.

Image: Wikimedia
Despite looking like one of those big, flying seeds, I'm pretty sure Violin Beetles can't fly at all. They're a kind of ground beetle, and many of the larger ground beetles have fused wing cases that render their wings irrelevant. And Violin Beetles are certainly quite sizeable.

It still looks like a strong gust of wind could send them gliding off somewhere. In reality they are flattened to fit between the shelves of bracket fungi or under bark. In these dark places, they do their killing.

Mormolyce are named after Mormo, a kind of Greek bogey-woman who decided she wanted to bite and/or kill children in order to provide parents a well-needed death threat against their offspring.

Violin Beetles like to bite and eat, too. They do it to invertebrates. Those that interfere with the Violin Beetle's terrible plans may find themselves sprayed with butyric acid. Apparently it can paralyze your hand for a day! Thus incapacitated, the Violin can kill at leisure.

I think I know their favourite song...


TexWisGirl said...

the first one looks like 'cast iron skillet' beetle. the last one is definitely a flying seed. :)

Joseph JG said...

Yeh, the first one looks like it could knock you out! The others have a little more transparency so we could probably survive them.

Unknown said...

What if I say “beetle juice” three times? Fun aside this beetle is unique despite it looks kind of creepy.