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June 27th, 2009 - It's Post Number 371...!!!

Yes, that's right, it's time again to palaver on about another random post along the wayside of the Infinite Universe...
Welcome to post #371!

Woo, woo.


Now that that is out of the way, lookit this Scarab beetle we came across on our dog walk today:

It seems to fall under the classification...
Kingdom: Animalia (Animals)
Phylum: Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Class: Insecta (Insects)
Order: Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder: Polyphaga (Water, Rove, Scarab, Longhorn, Leaf and Snout Beetles)
Superfamily: Scarabaeoidea (Scarab, Stag and Bess Beetles)
Family: Scarabaeidae (Scarab Beetles)
Subfamily: Rutelinae (Shining Leaf Chafers)
Tribe: Rutelini
Genus: Pelidnota
Species: punctata (Grapevine Beetle)

Other-wise known as the "Spotted June Beetle" (June Bug), or the "Spotted Pelidnota"
since the species name means, "spotted." That would be punctata, or Victor Borge would say, "pwhut."
Apparently, the southern specimens have light brown legs, the northern specimens have dark legs, as is the case here.
It's a cool-looking thing, to me anyway. To our neighbor Barb, I believe the adjective was "ugly."
This bought up a discussion about the significance of Scarab beetles in ancient Egyptian culture, and the fact that they adorned the necks and clothing of many Egyptians; hoi polloi and mummified alike. But I couldn't remember why.
Arriving home, Google refreshed my overloaded grey matter with informative articles describing other members of the Scarabaeidae family, vastly more famous for rolling balls of dung uphills, downhills, and into burrows. This skill, and their ray-like antennae so impressed the Egyptians that they likened the beetle's activities to their own solar clockwork: the scarab-beetle god Khepera was believed to push the setting sun along the sky in the same manner as the beetle with his ball of dung.
That is so true! I personally have had many days like that, especially when I worked in customer service.
So in many Egyptian artifacts, the scarab is depicted pushing the sun along its course in the sky.
Giving way to the phrase, "Now we're rollin'!"

THAT is a nice dung-ball.
During and following the Egyptians time of the "New Kingdom," scarab amulets were often placed over the heart of the mummified deceased. These "heart scarabs" were meant to be weighed against the feather of truth during the "final judgement."
Possibly giving way to the phrase, "He wasn't worth a crap."
The amulets were often inscribed with a spell from the Book of the Dead which entreated the heart to please, "do not stand as a witness against me." Which I interpret as, "I know I should have used my brain, but it seemed like a good idea at the time."
Be that as it may, our Scarab beetle is not a dung-roller but a Shining Leaf-Chafer. No less prestigious in my book, I must say. Some days you're rolling dung, some days you're chafing leaves. That's just the way it is.


buthidae said...

Terry Gross's (of NPR) interview of Douglas Emlen, a scarab expert, is well worth a listen: Gross interviews Emlen . There are some neat pics on the NPR site,as well

buthidae said...

Sorry, the link won't work. Lots of stuff doesn't work since Firefox's last update. Try this, if you're so inclined