A Stunning Collection of Beetles From Around the World
by Laura Poppick
Udo Schmidt, a retired researcher from Germany’s Federal Center for Meat Research in Bavaria, has been collecting beetles since his late 20s. Now, at 70, his beetle drawers have swelled to 30,000 specimens representing more than 6,000 species.
Schmidt is also a talented photographer, and has digitally archived his stunning collection on his website and Flickr.
“Since more than 350,000 species of beetles have been classified, and I have published photos of just 1,600 of them, there is absolutely no danger that I will run out of work,” Schmidt told Wired…
What do you do when you run across hundreds of nameless species of beetle in the wilderness of New Guinea?
No, the correct answer is not “run away screaming” — at least if you’re a scientist dedicated to discovering the massive diversity of insect life. Instead, researchers from the German Natural History Museum Karlsruhe and the Zoological State Collection in Munich turned to the phone book to label all the new species.
After discovering hundreds of distinct species of weevils (a superfamily of beetles) in the genus Trigonopterus, scientists Alexander Riedel and Michael Balke realized they could spend a lifetime describing and naming them all. So they created a scientific shortcut: sequencing a portion of each weevil’s DNA to sort out the different species and taking photographs for the online database Species ID, a Wikipedia-like website for cataloguing biodiversity…
The Attelabidae or leaf-rolling weevils are a widespread family of weevils. Females protect newly laid eggs by ingeniously rolling them up inside a growing leaf. After hatching, the larvae eat the leaf from within.
They are notable appearance-wise for their often bright colors and elongated “necks”, a feature utilised in the leaf rolling process.
New Zealand giraffe beetle (Lasiorynchus barbicornis)
is a long species of straight-snouted weevil found exclusively in New Zealand. this species of weevil is special as is the longest species in the world, with males reaching 85mm long and females 45mm long. Most of their length comes from their extremely long neck, thus the name giraffe, their Maori name (tuwhaipapa) on the other hand, comes from the Maori god of newly made canoes. they exhibit minimal amounts of sexual dimorphism as well, as males have a protrusion on the end of their head with antennae on the tip, but on the females they have a much smaller protrusion with antennae halfway through.
Diaprepes abbreviatus is a species of weevil that is native to the Caribbean, where in Spanish it is colloquially called chichí. It is an agricultural pest in several Caribbean countries. In 1964 this weevil was accidentally introduced in the US state of Florida where it is at present a major pest of citrus. It was first discovered in southern California in 2005, where it is a pest of citrus, avocado, and nursery stock…
The adult citrus root weevil is somewhat variable in size but just over 1 cm (0.39 in) in length on average. Its elytra are glossy black with large stripes of tiny yellowish-orange scales, and its head and legs are black. It has adhesive pads on its legs which confer the ability to adhere to very smooth surfaces. The larva is a plump pale grub with a dark head, up to 2.5 cm (0.98 in) in length. A female weevil might lay 5,000 eggs, depositing them in clusters on leaves, then folding and gluing the leaves together…