Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I have a new pet

One of the field trips we took with the kids recently was described to us as "about bugs."

"Okay" I thought, "this is going to be boring."

It was anything but boring.  And one of the treasures the kids, along with the teachers were given to take home as a pet was a caterpillar.  However, this caterpillar, if he can be called that, will not transform into a beautiful butterfly.  Oh, no!  Not this guy.  This guy will certainly make a cocoon, but his metamorphosis will be into entirely different; a Japanese rhinoceros beetle. Well, at least I think it's that beetle.  No one knows for sure.  In Korean it's called the "stag beetle" but we can't seem to find a proper translation.  Basically this beetle will be HUGE; 35-90 mm, around the length of a man's index finger.

 The kids were sent home with these beetle larva as well, except without any instructions other than verbal instructions.  Can you imagine being a parent, and having your kid walking through the doorway with a jar filled with soil and a larva as large as your child's fist??  My mom would have had a heart attack.  Why would they not send home written instructions to the parents.  Do they actually expect 3-6 year olds to remember what they were told to do with the creatures.  And when they grow into full sized beetles, they're completely equipped with wings.  They will fly, oh yes they will.

I've named him George Harrison after the Beatle (from the band) who is the "forgotten Beatle." He currently resides in his jar tucked away in our cabinet as we were told that he prefers the darkness.  He requires no care.  If his soil drys up, we are to spray it lightly with water, other than that, leave him to his business of eating, growing, cocooning and growing into a humongous beetle.  I can't wait to see him progress!  Maybe I'll even send him home to my family as a gift :)

1 comment:

Katie Todd said...

Hi Vanessa,

My name is Katherine Todd and I am an entomology researcher at The Ohio State University. I am writing a scientific paper for the USDA Forest Service about insects which are specialists on ash trees in North America.

One trend that we have noticed about an insect that we are studying (the Western Hercules Beetle) is that Asian kids like to keep the beetle as pets and sometimes travel to the United States to catch the Western Hercules Beetle. We think this is a really interesting aspect of the charismatic nature of this beetle and wanted to include a picture of beetle pets in our paper. However, we're having difficulty finding such a picture.

I found your blog online and was wondering, could I please get permission to potentially use the photo of the little girl and her beetle pet in our manuscript? We would greatly appreciate your permission, but I understand if you wouldn't like to publish the picture.

Thank you for your help and sorry I couldn't just email you instead of posting a comment! I couldn't find your email listed anywhere.


Katherine J. Todd
Agriculture Landscape Ecology Lab
The Ohio State University​