June 29, 2020
When I was a little kid, my grandpa showed me how to tie a string around the leg of a green June beetle (Cotinis nitida). The beetle will take flight, pull all the slack out of the string, and then fly around your head in a circle. This is probably not the nicest thing to do to June beetle, but it was pretty entertaining!
As their name suggests, these beetles start showing up around June here in southwest Virginia, and they can usually be spotted flying low over yards. It's believed that they're attracted to decaying organic matter because it provides a good place to lay their eggs. Anecdotally, I remember that I would always see a ton of June beetles at the spot where my grandpa dumped all of his old grass clippings, likely for this same reason.
The larvae of these beetles are large white grubs that burrow down about a foot into the soil and emerge at night to feed on thatch and other decaying plant material. Even though the grubs have legs, they move by laying on their backs and wriggling forward, looking almost like caterpillars!
While the grubs are not terribly destructive compared to some beetle larvae, the adults will feed on a variety of fruits, and they're especially attracted to rotting fruit. However, adult June beetles are not nearly as destructive as another species of beetle that we'll be looking at tomorrow. #BenInNature
This post brought to you by VMNH Corporate Supporter The Lester Group.
ABOUT THIS POST
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. While he is working from home, Administrator of Science Ben Williams is venturing outdoors each day to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world.
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