BEETLES

 

Beetles belong to the order 'Coleoptera', a term derived from the Greek words 'coleos', meaning sheath, and 'pteron' (pl. 'ptera'), meaning wing. In other words, as Aristotle correctly put it, some 2,500 years ago, beetles are sheath-winged insects. In effect, the wise philosopher was referring to the insects' front wings, known as elytra, which are tough and horny and, with the notable exception of the rove beetles (Staphylinidae), they usually cover the whole abdomen. It is these front wings that give beetles their armoured look and make them appear wingless. Hind wings are membranous and usually kept tucked beneath the elytra when not in use. Beetles sometimes lack hind wings altogether, in which case the elytra my be fused for extra protection. Although most beetles can fly, they spend little time in the air, as they are, essentially, insects of the ground and vegetation. Albeit, at night these beetles are attracted by lights, especially if where your staying  in Crete is in the countryside you will have a few every night visiting you - we call them 'cling-ons' as they do cling-on to your clothing and hair as they fly blindly at you. This can take you aback at first but once 'clung on' - you will become fascinated with these amazing creatures.

   

RHINOCEROS BEETLE - Oryctes Nasicornis

   

One of the largest European beetles, 'Oryctes nasicornis', can grow up to 40mm in length. It is predominantly a nocturnal insect and is frequently attracted by lights. There is a pronounced difference between males and females, known as dimorphism; the long, curved  rhino-like horn borne by males is greatly reduced to a small point in females. The Rhino Beetle breeds in rotting wood and leaves, and also in piles of sawdust found at sawmills and carpenters shops. The larva which is up to 12 cm in length, is the largest European beetle larva and can take anywhere between 3 and 5 years to develop

   

ACTIVE

  

May - August, probably other months.

  

DISTRIBUTION

  

Most of Europe, North Africa, and part of Central Asia

 

EMERALD FRUIT BEETLE - Cetonia Aeruginosa'

  

The Emerald Fruit Beetle,  with its smooth, shiny elytra comes from the Greek word 'elytron' meaning case. It is very similar to the Rose Chafer (Cetonia aurata), although it is somewhat less common. It can be distinguished from C. aurata by its slightly larger size and its lack of white lines and marks. It is usually found on flowers and frequently feeds on sap oozing from trees, while its larvae feed in old oak trunks and stumps.

  

ACTIVE

 

April - September, but more abundant in spring

 

HABITAT

 

Flowery places near woodland.

 

ROSE CHAFER - Cetonia Aurata

   

A large and attractive beetle that can reach a length of 17 mm. Its clearly flattened  elytra are shiny, bronzy-green and flecked with white lines and marks. It has a noisy bumbling flight, suddenly landing on a flower to begin feeding on the pollen. It prefers flowery and sheltered places near or in older woodland, but the adults are very mobile and can turn up almost anywhere. It is often found on roses, hence its common English name. It is a very common insect, usually active in sunny weather, which appears between May and September. Larva lives in rotting wood.

 

FOOD

 

Pollen from flowers, including roses, hence its common English name.

 

DISTRIBUTION

 

Common in southern and central Europe, less common in Britain.

 

LONGHORN BEETLE - Ergates Faber

   

This is one of the largest Longhorn Beetles, growing up to 60 mm in length. The male can be easily recognized by its extra-long antennae and the two large spots on the thorax which are absent from females. The species, which is predominantly nocturnal, is rather common in Greece and southern Europe, but is less common in the central part of the continent. The larva develops over several years in pine, occasionally also in spruce. It can become thumb-thick and nearly 100 mm (4 in) long.
 

N.B. Ergates faber should be handled with care, as it can deliver a painful bite with its powerful jaws, which it can take some time to release.

  

ACTIVE

 

June - September.

 

HABITAT

 

Woodlands

  

LONGHORN BEETLE - Corymbia Cordigera

   

A handsome insect, approximately 20 mm in length, with bright red elytra which feature a black, heart-shaped marking approximately in the middle.  It is fully winged and flies well by day. Like other members of its family, it feeds on flowers, particularly the pollen and leaves. Larvae are, more than likely, wood-eaters. They probably prefer deciduous and coniferous trees, although this information has not been validated.

    

ACTIVE

  

April - August, but more abundant in spring and early summer.

  

GLAPHYRID BEETLE - Eulasia Pareyssei

 

Not much information available on this little insect. It is a small, very hairy beetle, approx. 15 mm in length, with a shiny metallic-green thorax and dark brown elytra, adorned with beige stripes. Large numbers swarm every year from around mid-April to mid-May, at which time they miraculously vanish. Despite the fact that they are strong flyers, they are usually fairly idle. Most individuals can be seen basking in the sun, on yellow flowers, which they seem to prefer. Every now and then a stray lands on a flower already occupied by another individual of the same species. When this happens, the flower occupant engages in a noisy, short-lived battle with the intruder, after which the latter usually flies away in defeat.

 

HABITAT

 

Flowery meadows and hill slopes and seems to prefer yellow flowers.

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