Trilobite Beetles Are Happy Being On Land, Alive in the Present Day
by Bec Crew
I know they look like they belong in the ocean 250 million years ago, but trilobite beetles are actually pretty happy existing in the present day. On land. They hate water, what are you doing? Don’t put them in there. You’ll kill them if you do that. Found in lowland forests across Southeast Asia and India, these peculiar beetles are an enigma wrapped in an armoured shell with the tiniest head and some nice orange highlights.
The trilobite genus Duliticola belongs to the family Lycidae, commonly known as net-winged beetles. This family is a pretty interesting one, because many of its species display huge physical differences between their males and their females. Trilobite beetles are no exception.
While the females are easily recognisable – that incredible form is retained from when they were larvae – the males look entirely different. They pretty much just look like plain old beetles, with long, winged bodies and a pair of thick antennae. And all they have to look forward to is growing to 5 mm long. How embarrassing, because the females end up more than ten times larger, growing up to 6 cm long…
(read more: Running Ponies - Scientific American)
photos: T - female Duliticola paradoxa by Bernard Dupont; M - female D. hoiseni by A. F. S. L. Lok and H. H. Tan; B - female D. paradoxa by Lok and Tan