University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Mystery Bug Answers

 
Mystery Picture #37

Mystery Picture #37

(Mystery Pictures)(Mystery Pictures)
NoviceExpert

Novice

The common name of the Green June Beetle or Junebug comes from its general color and the summer month when it is active. Many children have converted one of these insects into an arthropod kite by tying a thread to one leg of the beetle and flying it on a leash. The adults like to feed on over-ripe fruit.

May beetles, June beetles and Japanese beetles belong to a very closely related group of beetles called scarabs. Ancient Egyptians wore scarab amulets, or magical charms, because they thought the beetles brought good luck. The amulets were shaped like the sacred dung-beetle, which was portrayed as spending each day pushing a ball of dung, a symbol of rebirth and eternal life. The ancient Egyptian word for beetle was kheper, which meant "to exist". So scarab amulets were worn to assure continued existence, both in this world and the next. The Egyptians wore small versions as part of their jewelry. Large carved scarabs were often buried with mummies to protect the heart. Scarabs were made from faience, a substance that hardens and turns blue when fired, or were carved from semi-precious stones such as amethyst, turquoise, lapis lazuli, and steatite. They were also used as seals and so the name of the owner was often inscribed on the underside.


Expert

The Assassin Bug has piercing-sucking mouthparts and often waits for prey to wander by. It will grab the unfortunate insect with its front legs and use its sharp beak to pierce the prey's external skeleton. Since this insect has incomplete metamorphosis, the immature stages, or nymphs, look very much like the adults, only smaller.

These insects are considered beneficial because their prey are often pest insects such as caterpillars and other insects that attack crops.

The very first Mystery Bug was an electronmicrograph of an assassin bug. Click here to take a very close-up look at this interesting creature! Another member of the family, the wheelbug, was a featured Mystery Bug also.


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This page is maintained by Pat Dillon, Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky. Please send questions or suggestions to: pdillon@uky.edu