M.G. Leonard: The Wonderful World of Beetles!

M.G. Leonard: The Wonderful World of Beetles!

Meet Five Superhero Beetles:

1) The rhinoceros beetle – super strength

The rhinoceros beetle can lift 850 times its body weight. That’s the equivalent of an elephant lifting 850 elephants! In proportion to its body size, the rhinoceros beetle is the strongest creature on the planet.

2) The firefly – super light

The firefly is a beetle with a bioluminescent abdomen – a lamp in its belly! It uses that light to communicate with other fireflies. If you are lucky on a dusky summer evening, you’ll see hundreds of them dancing about in a magical light show.

3) The bombardier beetle – shoots acid

The bombardier beetle has the craziest defence mechanism. It has a nozzle on the tip of its abdomen that it can point in any direction. If it feels threatened it shoots boiling hot acid at the predator and the explosion of acid catapults it out of harms way.

4) The tiger beetle – super speed

Bottle green in colour with six white spots on their elytra, the tiger beetle is one of the fastest insects on the planet, able to cover 2.5 metres in one second. They’re so fast, they can’t see whilst they’re running, so have giant bulbous eyes to orientate them when they stop. They are hunters, feeding on other insects, so have vicious jaws for crushing prey, and mandibles like cutlasses with serrated edges.

5) The dung beetle – super navigator

Dung beetles roll their dung balls with their hind legs, walking upside-down on their forelegs. They navigate using the moon and the stars like sailors used to do. When there is no moon, they will use the Milky Way.

Five Fascinating Facts About Beetles:

1) Beetles don’t have a spine, instead they have an exoskeleton – a skeleton on the outside of their bodies. This means that they can never grow bigger than they are.

2) There are more species of beetle on the planet than any other creature. They make up nearly a quarter of all known types of animals.

3) Beetles live almost everywhere. They are found in all major habitats, except marine and polar regions.

4) Beetles have two pairs of wings, a top hard shell-like pair that lift up to reveal a soft folded pair underneath. Their scientific name is Coleoptera, which means ‘sheath wing’.

5) Beetles don’t have lungs. They breathe through tiny holes in their exoskeleton called spiracles.