Monday 12 June 2023

Missing in action?

 

Missing in action?

The problem with recording stag beetles for the Great Stag Hunt (https://stagbeetles.ptes.org/take-part-in-the-great-stag-hunt/) is that one beetle looks pretty much like any other.

We found one a few years ago that had 5½ legs. Over the course of a couple of day the cats kept bringing it into the conservatory. They seemed intrigued by it but didn’t want to do anything with it other than carry it from outside to inside.

This morning we found one on his back on the patio. We tipped him onto his front and realised he was missing one mandible. It didn’t stop him rearing up aggressively, poor little thing, but then he moved away quickly, as much as a little creature can. Gilbert was extremely interested and wanted to nose him but we told him to desist.

An hour and a half later the beetle was in our sitting room, courtesy of Herschel, who deposited him and left. We have now put him back outside and hopefully that is where he will remain.

I wondered if beetles could regenerate missing parts and sadly, they can’t. We will never know how he lost his mandible; maybe it was in battle with a rival, who knows.         

  Monsieur stag beetle will develop a list to the right, I think.

12 comments:

  1. Yes, he will definitely be a left hander. I suppose beetles can survive with less limbs and a missing mandible.

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    1. Well, it's a short life above ground . . .

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  2. Why do the cats take beetles in their mouths? And why do they deliver them into the conservatory? My dog would either jump on beetles and bury them, or ignore them totally.

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  3. I don't know why cats pick up beetles - they can't eat them, and the beetles don't wriggle tantalisingly.

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  4. When I was 6 or 7 we played with these beetles until one un pinched me with his horns! Today I find them disgusting and would run away! In German they are called "deer beetles" (Hornk√§fer) because of the horns ! Fortunately I live on the 4th floor, so Rosie can't bring me such gifts ! I am melting here we have over 30° since 4 days ! and it will continue !

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    Replies
    1. There are certainly advantages to living higher up!

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  5. Perhaps the cats are responsible for the missing appendages.

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  6. One fears that life will be tough with a mandible missing...

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    Replies
    1. It sounds like a public notice: Missing, one mandible.

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  7. Perhaps it's an aging process where bits fall off similar to men losing their hair.

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