Friday, 4 December 2009

Here be giants

It pays to keep unscreened windows closed at night around here. Apart from possums and snakes, both of which can create havoc in their own special ways, there are also insects. Quite large insects. Insects with jaws like a can opener.



Longicorn beetles are common in the rainforest. There's no shortage of timber for the larvae to chew through. Living wood, rotting wood, whatever they want, it's all here. On warm, humid nights, the beetles congregate around the outside lights, bumping into each other when they land in a coleopteran version on the Keystone Cops.

Most of the longicorns are small and inoffensive. But there are also hulking great big ones that are happy to remind you that they can chew through wood. Just ask my neighbour who inadvertently put his finger in front of one.

These giant longicorns (Paroplites?) don't turn up every night, but they make an impact when they do. They are about 6 cm long and look like small birds. (If you can imagine a glossy black, hard-winged, loudly-buzzing bird.) You'll hear them before you see them. And that's the time to get up and shut the windows or you'll be chasing them around with a net, to which they will cling with extraordinary devotion, and then you'll have to pry them off while trying to keep your fingers away from the business end. I speak with experience.


7 comments:

desertnutmeg said...

Thank you for tonight's nightmare. Eeegads! ~nutmeg.

Snail said...

You're welcome! Now imagine what it's like to have one of those things flying around your living room ...

mick said...

I'd enjoy having one of those pademelons in my yard (or at least I think so!) but I definitely wouldn't want one of those LARGE insects flying around! Let alone having to capture it and put it outside!!

Mosura said...

What a beauty! Yep - I'd shut the window (to keep the family happy) but then I'd go and sit outside with them.

Snail said...

Mick, Mosura, if they just crawled or, indeed, were able to steer effectively when they flew, I'd be more inclined to let them have the run of the place.

I also admit to being a bit intimidated when I'm standing in the garden in the near dark trying to photograph something hearing that loud buzzing getting closer and closer but not being able to see where it's coming from because everything, including the beetle, is black!

Sometimes I am such a wimp.

Dave Coulter said...

Yikes!

Snail said...

Yikes, indeed. There was an even bigger stag beetle with really big jaws but I was too wimpy to stick around.