British beetles: Cockchafer or May Bug

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Cockchafer or May Bug are a large flying nocturnal beetle that are attracted to light and consequently appear regularly in moth traps.

Insight into Cockchafer or May Bug (Melolontha melolontha): Identification of these large brown beetles and determining their sex is not difficult. Just their buzzing flight noise is a give away and a close up view of the heads of these large brown beetles show splayed antennae with several finger-like projections.

The males can be identified from the females by them having an additional seventh finger to the antenna as opposed to the females six. However, when not active these antennae are not displayed.

As with many insects it is thought that the more comlex the antennae the greater both their sensitivity and the insect’s reliance on them in locating breeding partners and food, detecting danger and possibly for navigation.

Future studies will hopefully improve our understanding of these vital parts of an insects anatomy.

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