Wildlife

Una collisione coleottero (A Beetle Collision)

Hi Everyone!

So as you have seen, or rather haven’t seen, it’s been a long time since I uploaded a blog post. I am so sorry but unfortunately, university has taken up a lot of my time these past couple of months. What can I say, I’m pushing to do well!

Anyway, it’s a Friday night, I’m all tucked up in bed after a loooooooooong week and I was having a little bit of a flick through my photo album on my phone. In doing so I came across some holiday photos from my holiday in June/July 2015 to Northern Italy and unsurprisingly, like the biology geek that I am, I came across pictures I had taken of the local ‘wildlife’ shall we say. When I say that, I mean that I came across a picture of an absolutely MASSIVE beetle.

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Now the story of this beetle is quite an amusing one for me. I was sat outside on our veranda having a lovely cup of tea with my breakfast when I heard a strange ‘flapping’ sound near my ear. I didn’t really think much of it until the flapping object hit me square in the cheek and I tell you, it was pretty forceful, but I didn’t realise what it was until I turned around and saw on the side of the chalet; a rather large, and extremely pretty beetle.

And now, I have decided to have a good old research about what this beetle is all about because I remember being absolutely intrigued by it at the time.

From what I have read from research online, this bug is what the Italians refer to as a ‘Maggiolino’ meaning ‘Maybug’ or ‘Cockchafer’. I’m actually getting more and more excited as I read on because this little bug is known to be notoriously difficult to photograph as is normally found to be in flight – can I get a woop woop for me managing to get a picture?!

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Here the Maggiolino is, modelling a very fetching beach towel..

Now from what I have pieced together, the Maggiolino is known in English by the name ‘Rose Chafer’ or by the scientific name ‘Cetonia aurata’. 

A little bit of depth reveals that the Maggiolino is 20mm in length (I’ve included a picture next to a watch so you can see a comparison of the size), that has distinct metallic colouration as well as distinct V-shaped scutellum between the wing cases. These fascinating creatures are capable of extremely fast flight, being able to fly with their wing cases down, particularly during their peak observation periods from May to July, most often in central Europe. They feed on pollen, nectar and flowers, especially roses – so you keen gardeners in the tropics and warmer climates may want to keep an eye out!! Thankfully, they don’t eat human flesh, contrary to me jumping out of my skin when my particular little one rudely bumped into me that July morning!

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Look at the size of it!!! Huge.

One little fact I came across was that this beetle is referred to by the Italian’s as the VW beetle.. isn’t that just brilliant?!

Now I realise that this post isn’t really very research based or particularly intellectual, it’s just something that I thought might of been as much of interest to you as it was to me. I sometimes think that it’s such a shame that people see magnificent creatures and don’t even stop to take in what they are or if they may ever see one again. I was lucky enough to see this beetle at very close quarters and to be honest, geeky and nerdy as this will sound, I actually think many would envy the position I was in.

I hope that this post encourages some of you to do your own research into some animals or creatures you may have seen when you were on holiday abroad or even in your country of origin.. whether you’ve seen a weird looking camel with 7 humps or a really attractive butterfly, it’s really worth investigating what they are because you never know, you might of discovered something no one even knew existed.

Until next time,

M x

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