National Geographic : 1929 Jul
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE There are about 13,000 known species of Scarabaeids, of which about 5,000 belong to the dung beetle branch of the family. The ancient Egyptians, observing the beetle's habit of rolling around pills of dung and dirt, are supposed to have interpreted this practice as a typification of the planetary and lunar revolutions, and therefore held that its disap pearance and return was emblematic of eternal life (see, also, illustration, page 44). The leaf chafers constitute the more numer ous branch of the Scarabaeid family. In size, the species range from the big June bug or May beetle, down to the small rose chafer or rose bug. The larvae of the iridescent May beetle are big fat grubs found in lawns, fields, and gardens. They spend three years in their journey from the egg to the possession of wings. In the fall they dig below the frost line, and in the spring come up again to spend the summer feeding on the tiny roots of vege tation. The rose chafer larvae seem to thrive best in sandy ground. Observers have noted that in regions where there is a strip of land under laid with a clay subsoil, bordered by another strip in which there is a sandy subsoil, very few rose chafers appear until the wind blows from the sandy subsoil region. They then come in hosts to the land underlaid with clay. A newly imported member of the Scarabaeid family is the destructive green Japanese beetle, which a few years ago gained a foothold above Philadelphia on the Jersey side of the Delaware River. The species reproduced are: Macrodactylus angustatus Beauv. (Plate XVIII, figure II), found in North America; Popillia japonica Newman. (Plate XVIII, figure 13), introduced into the United States from Japan; Phyllophaga torta Lec. (Plate XXI, figure 6), found in North America; Chrysophora chrysochlora Latr. (Plate XXIII, figure I), found in Ecua dor and Peru; Eudicella morgani White. (Plate XXIII, figure 2), native of West Africa; Pha naeus imperator Chevr. (Plate XXIII, figure 3), habitat South America; Genyodonta flavo maculata Fab. (Plate XXIII, figure 4), found in Africa; Argyripa lansbergei Salle. (Plate XXIII, figure 5), habitat Brazil; Ischiopsopha jamesi Waterh. (Plate XXIII, figure 6), a spe cies from British New Guinea; Plusiotis re splendens Bouc. (Plate XXIII, figure 7), a native of Costa Rica; Macraspis pantochloris Blanch. (Plate XXIII, figure 8), found in South America; June Bug (Cotinus nitida Linn. Plate XXIII, figure 9), a native of eastern and southern United States; Rutela laeta Weber. (Plate XXIII, figure o1), found in northern South America; Heterorrhina macleayi Kirby. (Plate XXIII, figure II), a native of Central America; Phanacus index MacLeay. (Plate XXIV, figure I), found in eastern United States; Macraspis lucida Olivier. (Plate XXIV, figure 2), found in Central and South America; Oxysternon festivum Linn. (Plate XXIV, fig ure 3), South American species; Eupoecila aus tralasiaeDonovan. (Plate XXIV, figure 4), na tive of Australia; Theodosia westwoodi J. Thoms. (Plate XXIV, figure 5), habitat Bor neo; Tumble Bug (Canthon chalcites Hald. Plate XXIV, figure 6), a native of North America; Stephanorrhinaguttata Olivier. (Plate XXIV, figure 7), found in West Africa; Gold smith Beetle (Cotalpa lanigera Linn. Plate XXIV, figure 8), found in eastern United States; Pelidnota punctata Linn. (Plate XXIV, figure 9), familiar species in eastern United States; Potosia speciosa Adams. (Plate XXIV, figure io), habitat southwestern Asia; Pelid nota sumptuosa Vigors. (Plate XXIV, figure II), found in South America. Snout Beetle Family (Otiorhynchidac). This family is represented in our fauna by more than 200 species. It includes Fuller's rose beetle, the strawberry crown girdler, and the black vine weevil. Many of its members are notorious as greenhouse pests. The species reproduced are: Cyphus 16 punctata Linn. (Plate XVIII, figure 12), found in South America; Hypomeces squamosus Fab. (Plate XVIII, figure 14), found in India. Erotylidae Family. This is a small family which resembles click beetles in form, and whose larvae bore into the stalks of clover. The larvae of some species feed on fungi. The species reproduced is: Erotylus gigan teus Linn. (Plate XIX, figure 3), which occurs in Cayenne, French Guiana. Carabid Beetle Family (Carabidae). The 1,200 species of this group of beetles contain many interesting insects. One of these is the bombardier beetle which, when pursued or at tacked by an enemy, fires at the foe a tiny puff of acrid, reddish "smoke," with a popgun report. Comstock has found that the bombardier is able to use four or five rounds of ammunition with out exhausting its supply. One species belonging to the Carabid family is known as Calosoma scrutator, the latter part of its name being derived from its habit of scrutinizing everything in its search for cater pillars. It and its close cousins are popularly known as caterpillar hunters. One species has been brought to America from Europe to help wage war on the brown-tail moth. Some of the Calosomas are aggressive foes of the hairy tent-caterpillar that is such an enemy of the orchardist and landscape gardener. Other Carabids eat the larvae of codling moths and of the plum curculio. Some species here and elsewhere dwell in caves, and are sightless. Other species dwell in moist, damp places where snails may be found, and have their palpi shaped like long-handled spoons suit able for drawing snails out of their shells. The species illustrated are: Carabus auroni tens Fab. (Plate XIX, figure 4), a native of Central Europe; Ceroglossus gloriosus Gerst. (Plate XIX, figure 6), found in Chile; Calo soma bonariense Dej. (Plate XX, figure 4), found in Brazil and Argentina; Calosoma scru tator Fab. (Plate XX, figure 9), a North American species; Mormolyce hagenbachi Westw. (Plate XXI, figure 9), a native of Sumatra.