Sunday, February 8, 2015

The wonderful, mystifying world of beetles

Every once in a while you see some bug-thing happening that you would like to know more about. For a week or so last summer there were "rafts" of water bugs hanging off many of the docks in camp. I just assumed they were whirligig beetles because you see them do this sometimes -- a couple hundred of them packing together.
So, I didn't rush right out in a boat to see what these bugs last summer were. I did notice that the groups were a lot bigger than the usual whirligig rafts. Eventually, though, I did look and found they weren't whirligigs at all, nor were they water striders nor water boatmen -- all the usual suspects. They were beetles, that was for sure, but unknown to me. My insect books didn't shed any light either.
It is possible I will never see them again, for a fact. That's because there are hundreds of thousands of species of beetles, more even than plants, and much more than all the other orders of insects.
It is believed that most species of beetles are yet to be discovered. So, you really might see a particular species of beetle only once in your life, and it may be totally unknown to science.
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