I have the distinct honor of hosting this second edition of An Inordinate Fondness, the blog carnival devoted to beetles. Everyone from scientists and academics, to budding naturalists and bloggers has something to say about beetles. To many people around the world, the word, “beetle,” conjures up images of the music band, “The Beatles.” The Beatles chose their name as a tribute to Buddy Holly and his band, “The Crickets.” The band members went through several iterations before settling on The Beatles, very much liking the musical tie-in achieved by simply changing one “e” to an “a.”

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As I see it, AIF could easily adapt the term for  the band’s well-known fan hysteria, “Beatlemania,” to its own purpose. What better way to describe our admiration for this often beautiful, always fascinating Order of insects? Did you catch that? I said Order! An entire Order in our taxonomic classification system, as in Order THEN Family THEN Genus THEN Species. That’s a lot of beetles! And a lot of beetlemaniacs (I mean that in the dearest of ways, and count myself among them). :-)

In my enthusiasm to support Ted and his new beetle carnival, I inadvertently volunteered to host both AIF and IATB on the same day. Oops. I called in reinforcements to help out with this musical-themed AIF from my partner in crime, AJ. You will notice a distinct difference in style with marked irreverence – enjoy if you dare! I might add that I do not know anyone who loves music as much as AJ, so you are in for a double-treat!

Now it is time for the real stars of the show to take the stage! AJ, take it away…

AJ: Hello! I had a blast reading all of your submissions.

Pink for pink -

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Guess what, beetle fans? Chickens aren’t the only animals who lay eggs. True, they are the ones who fulfill that particular part of your Grand Slam order every single time you frequent a Denny’s, but trust me on this: there are other layers out there. I may even go so far as to say it’s now an empirically-established fact. Here to go public with news of the breakthrough – cleverly incorporated into her post about Pink-Spotted Lady Beetles – is Shelly Cox of Mobugs:

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This song goes with the activity being performed before she saw the bug – only it was cords of wood, not coal – and I might be overestimating the quantity by a pound or two.

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TGIQ’s post introduces us to a recent discovery of hers: the Red Flat Bark Beetle – as well as a superficially similar-looking member of the Fire-Coloured Beetle family. And speaking of introductions, TGIQ’s site, Fall To Climb, also introduced me to: 1) the work of an awesome recording artist named Emily Haines (who, coincidentally, has the following line in the featured song: “Who would you rather be, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones?”), 2) the notion that praying mantises are jerks, and 3) the word “dongle” (essential to one’s vocabulary).

Bonus Fun: Ask TGIQ to identify any trees you may see in her bug photos.

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The choice of song should be self-explanatory.

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On his Myrmecos Blog, Alex Wild describes his discovery of an Ostoma Bark-Gnawing Beetle after engaging in what I’ve come to realize is a favorite hobby amongst all of you. That’s right, he PEELED BACK SOME BARK!  In addition to “tank-like,” Alex also uses the adjective “attractive” to characterize his find. Note to Alex: Dude, no matter how long I stare at it, “not-completely-nausea-inducing” is the closest I can come to matching your enthusiasm.

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The name “Bessie” is the closest name to “Bess” I could come up with. I did consider using KISS’ hit “Beth” from the 70′s, but I didn’t know if I could convince you all that the vocalist had a lisp and was actually singing the name I needed.

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JSK’s submission recounts her meeting with a Bess Beetle amputee. Despite being informally awarded the status of The Last Beetle JSK Saw In 2009, the one-antennaed Horned Passalus, unfazed by potential  distractions, strolled nonchalantly along the side of the pool – a scene strikingly similar to any randomly-selected commercial for Bud Light. Except it’s a bug, not a bikini-clad supermodel.

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As Beethoven was a favorite composer of Darwin’s (along with Mozart and Handel), here’s an audio clip from Symphony no. 9:

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Arthur E. Evans, blogging at What’s Bugging You?, highlights Charles Darwin’s entomological leanings, creating a historical timeline within the essay to frame the field’s impact on his theories. Strangely, Arthur never once mentions Adam and Eve and the fact that their proven existence* thoroughly debunks all of Darwin’s nonsense, rendering him a mere footnote in the history of man’s presence on this 6,000-year-old planet of ours.

*God said so

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Jason’s mentioned Mozart on his blog in the past, so who better as a lead-in to his post than the Beastie Boys?

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Now it’s time for the King of Controversy, the Maestro of Metaphor…Mr. Jason Hogle , who sets up the scene and delves into his “Ladies of Spring” post with his usual uber-eloquence and sharply-focused lens. Beware though, Jason’s tale contains characters straight out of the DSM-IV: unbridled nymphomaniacs, a taunting exhibitionist, and a stone cold sociopath. All I can say is: thank goodness he has his top-notch security team (aka The Kids) to protect him from these sinister deviants.

In case you think I’ve engaged in hyperbole with the aforementioned nicknames, here are two of my favorite Xenogere posts that exemplify such titles:

  1. http://xenogere.com/2010/01/21/the-birding-community-hates-birds-pishing-and-tape-luring-part-1/ – for the controversial, and
  2. http://xenogere.com/2010/01/23/a-few-of-my-favorite-things-1/ – to see his way with words.

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Another self-explanatory song:

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Oddly enough, Ted MacRae has been writing posts about beetles lately. The one listed here pertains to North America’s largest jewel beetle (hence, the title). Fascinating on one hand, while highly disturbing on the other, Ted provides detailed information about Euchroma gigantea – characteristics, habits, locations, etc. – while scattering the latter portion of the post with speculations regarding its culinary qualities. I’ll let you visit Beetles in the Bush and read about it yourself, but I’d just like to suggest using the Oh-I’m-Sorry-I-Already-Have-Other-Plans Excuse if Ted invites you to his house for Thanksgiving dinner. My powers of intuition tell me he’ll probably be replacing the Butterball with something that’ll make Tofurkey seem like manna from the gods.

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Miles Davis’ “Freedom Jazz Dance” also came to be known as “Evolution of the Groove.” Since there aren’t any lyrics, simply replace “groove” with “species” and its suddenly completely applicable, right?

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Okay, time for A Hypothetical Situation.  You have a nine-year-old niece you’d like to buy a gift for. She is currently attending public school in Texas, so as a science-oriented individual, you feel the need to combat the frontal-lobe paralysis inevitably being induced by her teachers and textbooks, thanks to a bunch of Evangelicals sitting on the school board dictating curriculum. Well, Michael D. Barton blogging at The Dispersal of Darwin has exactly what you need! Read his review of an illustrated children’s book chronicling – among other things – Darwin’s voyage “around the world,” biographical information, and the theory of natural selection, much of it told from the perspective of a beetle named Rosie (a Rose Chafer Beetle).

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This song becomes self-explanatory in the first paragraph of the post.

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Blogger Dave has a sentence in his post that has me a little concerned. He writes: “But, when the facts are inconvenient, it is time to turn to theory…” Now Dave, c’mon, when the facts are inconvenient, it’s time to MAKE CRAP UP. This isn’t meant to sound like an order; I merely offer it to you as a guideline to a wildly-successful life.

Dave ultimately requests some assistance from AIF bloggers in identifying what he refers to as “mystery beetles.” (Were this just any old blog, it would be the perfect opportunity to employ the advice I just gave above. For example, Ted could leave a comment firmly stating that the beetle in the first photo is “a striking example of  a Flubuticus jyperni – or, what the indigenous pagan tribes of Atlantis called Spleen-Eater Beetles.” See how easy it would be? Morally reprehensible – perhaps – but verrrrrry easy.)

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I chose this song because THAT’S WHAT IT FRIGGIN’ LOOKS LIKE TO ME.

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For an amazing close-up look at a Fiery Searcher, visit Marvin Smith’s post on Nature In the Ozarks. (Someone not as brave as I am might say this is the stuff nightmares are made of.)

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(Conveniently taken out of context for my own purposes)

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Ever find yourself staring at a bug, thinking, “What I wouldn’t give to have that little sucker dead and dangling from a cord around my neck…”? Boy, oh boy, do I ever have an on-line shop for you to browse around in for a while! (My advertising suggestion: “Insect Art: Where Entomologists Be Gettin’ Their Bling.”) Here’s “Beetle Eye Candy” from Aquakej.

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LIFE: Insects

If this multimedia presentation is not enough to hold you over until AIF#3, hosted by Fall To Climb, then consider this:

On Sunday, March 21st, at  8:00 pm, the Discovery Channel is premiering its documentary extravaganza, “LIFE.” Narrated by the notoriously reclusive Oprah Winfrey, the eleven-episode series boasts an extensive list of “television firsts,” including one especially relevant to An Inordinate Fondness:  “Male Darwin stag beetles fighting, then mating, in the treetops” (wasn’t there actually an entire movie with the same plot, starring Ron Jeremy and Jenna Jameson?). Anyway, this particular episode – “Insects” – premieres on Sunday, April 11th, at 9:00 pm. I know I’ll definitely be TiVo-ing every episode, so I can watch – then re-watch – all of ‘em. If you’d like to read more about the series or view some of the advance footage, here’s a link to the website: http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/life/ .

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