…makes the heart grow stronger?

Anyway, I hope I’ve been missed these past few days (!), I am still quite ill with bronchitis, and even as I write this post, the high fever and cold chills haven’t stopped. I was going to write a special Christmas blog but then I got ill.

On the bright side I have many beetle photographs ūüėČ

King Poly climbs the Christmas Tree!

King Poly climbs the Christmas Tree!

In this blog I’ll share some photos of the new polysChelorrhina Polyphemus.

Empty Chelorrhina Polyphemus coccoon.

Empty Chelorrhina Polyphemus coccoon.

Chelorrhina Polyphemus

As of now, there are 3 hatched into beautiful adults, 1 gentleman¬†and 2 ladies – 2 still nicely coccooning, I’m expecting them to emerge around next week – and then there is John.¬† John is the very fat grub that did a fast sit up in my hand to try and nip me! I named him after my fiance because they both love their, er grub, food. I suppose he’s my fave poly because I find his tenacious¬†personality interesting.

The week before Christmas I got the polys a mini Christmas tree, which King Poly (as I’ve named the gentleman beetle) loves climbing.¬† It even has a silver star.

The ladies – Anne and Mary; named after the Boleyn sisters who¬†were¬†both lovers of King Henry the 8th – are active too, especially feeding, but they’re not so adventurous as King Poly, instead¬†liking to¬†bury themselves under the substrate.¬†

These 3 poly-beetles have such a healthy appetite, I cannot believe how fast they get through the beetle jelly and banana.¬† King Poly takes (easier!)¬†advantage of the lady-beetles whilst they’re¬†feeding; with their noses stuck in jelly and fruit, they seem oblivious to everything else going on around them!¬† I expect to soon be blessed with many beetle eggs.¬† Well done King Poly ūüėÄ

Beetle Love

Beetle Love

I wasn’t sure whether to include what happened to me, because I don’t want to put off any prospective exotic beetle keepers…but then I thought, it might be better to tell you because it is all valid information and it wasn’t serious.¬† As one of the lady polys emerged out of her coccoon, I made the mistake of picking her up – as I usually do with all my various beetles (including the grubs, children).¬† These beetles are particularly strong and quite large – about¬†2 inches long –¬†and their legs with all the fancy spurs are really quite prickly: think of thorns and rose bushes!¬† I thought I’d pick her up to carry her to her new home, the larger vivarium.¬† But she would not let go!¬† She just kept running along my fingers and no matter how I tried, refused to then walk onto the substrate via pieces of bark and twigs.¬†

King Poly

King Poly

Her legs were beginning to hurt me.¬† I also noticed how her nose was down and that she was either trying to bite me – to protect herself – which I don’t believe, or, feed!¬† I thought, but they can’t pierce the skin – you need to always peel soft fruit for them as their beetle teeth –¬†mandibles – are just not strong enough.¬† But it was starting to really hurt, the prickly legs were¬†digging¬†into the sides of my finger.

I tried gently prying her off my finger but she wasn’t willing.¬† She was really hurting me by now, I knew I had to pull her off with a little more force and if it hurt her – which I didn’t want, obviously – then it had to be!

Thankfully she was safely removed from my finger and placed in her new home.  I stared at my finger, it was stinging.  I noticed a tiny cut, almost like a paper cut, 3 mm long, but with jaggered edges: poly beetle had indeed bitten me!  That night as I lay in bed there was an odd pins and needles tingling up my arm, but by the morning it had passed.

So, I would caution anyone handling the larger beetle (larger than the bellas, Aphelorrhina Stephanorrhina) to wear gloves or to do so carefully, knowing that they may bite.

Above 2 x photographs – Poly King emerging from the depths of his coccoon!¬† He’s certainly fixed me with a beady eye.

I noticed that the males of this species are prettier – lighter green with clearer cream markings and a ‘matte’ finish; whilst the females are highly glossy and darker with more subdued patterns.¬† As is often the case with male beetles, the polys boys have wonderful ‘horns’ sticking out of their noses.¬†

“ScienceDaily (Dec. 5, 2006) ‚ÄĒ The function of horned beetles’ wild protrusions has been a matter of some consternation for biologists. Digging seemed plausible; combat and mate selection, more likely. Even Charles Darwin once weighed in on the matter, suggesting — one imagines with some frustration — the horns were merely ornamental.” – www.sciencedaily.com

I hope to write more and share more photographs this weekend. 

Wish me a speedy recovery – and HAPPY NEW YEAR to you! ūüôā


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Copyright Stephanie Faith 2011