Thursday, May 14, 2009

Life Photo Meme: Metallic

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Coleoptera

This is a box of beetles, which are one of the most numerous insect groups on the face of the planet. This combined with the fact that insects are the most numerous animal, means that this planet really belongs to the beetles. While the bright colors are often used as a warning signal that the beetle tastes bad or is poisonous, it can also be an attractive signal to lady beetles.

Jewelery and other fashion accessories have been made from the beetles' shiny metallic overwings. On the science side, beetles are used to create carmine particles. These particles have helped researchers understand water flow and feeding rates for many aquatic organisms, and are also used as a food coloring (red) for many foods.

As a fun side note to this insect-filled week, if you are in the LA area check out the Bug Fair at the Natural History Museum of LA this weekend. It is one of the largest and most amazing insect fairs around!

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