Monday, October 11, 2010

Diabolical Ironclad Beetles

In mid-summer, in one corner of the park by my house, the Diabolical Ironclad beetles, Phloeodes diabolicus, would emerge from beneath rocks and low-lying plants at dusk to forage for tasty decomposing plant material. One night I picked up several and carried them home in my pocket. They have been living in a container, feeding on rolled oats and well-aged vegetable scraps ever since. As their name implies, they have incredibly tough shells. I read that collectors need to pre-drill holes through them in order to pin the specimens. (already humanely killed, of course)

And if having an "ironclad" shell isn't enough to protect them, they also have the defense of playing dead. Every time I take them out to look at them, this is how they behave for the first few minutes.

I think they're kinda cute, though. They are gentle creatures.
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