Sunday, May 22, 2016

Cockchafer


 Ha! I thought that might get your attention. And, no, this is not related to Friday night/Saturday morning's mirror-related goings on. Now prepare to be disappointed.

 The cockchafer, also known as a May bug or doodlebug (and here in Norfolk as a chovy, mitchamador, kittywitch, and midsummer dor), is a large flying beetle whose adult form (imago) emerges around this time of year.

 I expect your minds are out of the gutter now, so take a look at the kittywitch that landed next to me on one of my geraniums as I sat in the sun drinking a coffee.

I think this is a common cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha).
The Melolontha genus belongs to the scarab family

Awww... Look at its little face!

Hmm... Its very slowly chowing down on my geranium



I believe this one is a female as it has six "leaves" on its antennae (males have seven)


I accidentally knocked it off the geranium as I was trying to get a photo from a different angle. It was very compliant as I picked it up and took a photo of its undercarriage!


 And finally: As an agricultural nuisance, in 1320, cockchafers (as a species) were taken to court in Avignon where they were ordered to leave town and relocate to a specially designated area, or be outlawed. All cockchafers who failed to comply were collected and killed.


19 comments:

  1. I have a strong suspicion that you have plagiarised this post from a Willam Belli song. Or are you Willam's lyrics writer on the qt?

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    1. Gah! Found out, at last. And I would have got away with it if it wasn't for you meddling kids- uh, I mean, witches.

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  2. Great photos, but now I feel like a need a bath. I'm itchy and it's not cockchafer.

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  3. Awesome fotos & fantastic nature & history lesson. Thanks for sharing these. I usually avoid bugs & leave them be. But this bug looks very interesting & genteel. And if I'm going to be near any kind of cockchafer, I'd rather it be this kind than one that requires ointment. I hope the cockchafers have filed suit against Avignon to clear their name & for their rights to live freely & be treated with the respect they deserve.

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    1. If you're not looking to have to buy ointment, I'd stay away from Mistress Maddie!

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  4. Another in a long line of magnificent yet deadly beasts - it, and its grubs, can soon make mincemeat of your lovely garden (especially plants in pots)... Jx

    PS The grubs are often known as "rookworms" as they are eaten by crows. Apparently.

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    1. Thanks for the Evil Weevil reminder - I do keep checking my lilies for that beautiful, but destructive beetle and their shitty grubs.

      I know they're a bit of a pest, but I do have a soft spot for a cockchafer. They're so genteel (as Eros puts it), despite being bumbling oafs when not airbourne, and scarily noisy when they are!

      I haven't found any rookworms so far - and thats despite a lot of digging and repotting. Perhaps they live next door?

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    2. Oh!

      Well, that was unpleasant. I don't like the way those beady little eyes have almost sunken into its head. And are those legs or toilet brushes?

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    3. The toilet is one place I wouldn't like to encounter one. Not with those mandibles! Jx

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  5. Males always have to have extra bits don't they?
    Sx

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  6. Oh, Maikäfer ! Schornsteinfeger, Müller, Kaiser ... I think in the 1920s (or perhaps in WWI ?) they went into the soup - crunch crunch !

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    1. Deliberately or by accident? And do they need extra seasoning?

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  7. Cockchafer...we've all been there.

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  8. You know, I was going to ask if these lovely creatures were edible, but the link in the post at buglife.org said that the adult & larvae are edible! I say if they're snacking on your plants, then it's only fair to snack on them. Geraniums are edible & I'd like to see the cockchafer reintroduced into the culinary world, perhaps Mary Berry can incorporate cockchafers in her next cookbook.

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    1. I don't think I'd like to see Mary Berry chowing down on a cockchafer :s

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