21 May 2009

A dung beetle's performance art

Dung beetles often fly into water troughs in the wee hours, and come day, are still treading water. They, like this * fiddler beetle nectar-eater who was almost fatally charmed by a water gauge,have strong legs, thank beauty!Though they might not have the egos they should have in the modern world, these Australian fiddler beetles could brag about the time they won "Bug of the Month" ("the first Bug of the Month not found in the U.S.") on the splendid What's That Bug site produced by "Lisa Anne and Daniel". LA and D have great taste, for they say: "The truth is, the site is an art project."

Art lovers everywhere, unite!

* This common name must have changed from "fiddle" to "fiddler", though why we should support the change is a mystery to me. I agree with the Chews of Brisbane who call it the "fiddle beetle", as they also know the pipe from the one who plays the tune. What the Eupoecila australasiae isn't is the rose chafer (a sloppy name for quite a few beetles, it seems, including Cetonia aurata, C. floricola and also Macrodactylus subspinosus), though some call this beetle a rose chafer too. "Fiddle" is a most accurate descriptive name, until such time that evolution changes its looks to resemble a fiddler. Or say, a gardener who rubs roses.

What should a fiddle crab look like, and a fiddler beetle? Then there is the infrequently seen Welsh rarebit beetle vs. that common introduced pest to Australia, the Welsh rabbit beetle.


Charles said...

Wow, great photos.

anna tambour said...

You can't go wrong with supermodels.

Giles Watson said...

Your "Fiddler beetle" looks very much like the "Morron beetle" of an early nineteenth century text which once inspired some poems of mine. The illustration and poem in question are here:


anna tambour said...

Yes, it is. And I see you've been inspired again, too.

Here's more inspiration at the voluminous Chew family of Brisbane's Brisbane Insects and Spiders site.
You might notice that they call this scarab a "fiddle beetle", but it is commonly called a "fiddler beetle". However, they also name it Eupoecila australasiae, which seems to be the correct name, although so many sources put an extra i in Eupecila, that I originally spelled it that way, too. Tsk on me to doubt my CSIRO book. There is also some talk about these beetles being called not only "fiddler beetles", but "rose chafers". I think this is another case of Australian natives being given names familiar to northern hemispherians, regardless of how different, say, an apple tree is to the Australian "apple".

anna tambour said...

I put that comment above on last night, and then added some details to the post today because the common name really should be as the Chews have it. This is not a case of wabbit or warebit. The beetle looks like a violin, not a violinist.