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Smithsonian Libraries
Ms. captions and notes in 3rd folder are in Latin. DSI

Register forms have ms. caption titles; 1st title: hispa; 2nd: Lucanus; 3rd: Passalus; 4th: Mylabris; 5th: Phaleria. DSI

Possibly cut from the plates of Heft 2-16 (Coleoptera) by J. Sturm of: Faunae insectorum Germanicae initia ... / gesammelt und herausgegeben von Georg Wolffgang Franz Panzer. Nürnberg : In den Felsecken Buchhandlung, 1796-1813. DSI

French ms. notes in ink on register forms refer to Olivier's Entomologie. DSI

Animated Beetles

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Five sketches of beetles resembling bed bugs. One lies on a bed, while another approaches a door in a sparsely furnished room, and three others are scattered in the margins. Graphite framing line.

When Beetles Ate Dinosaurs

Smithsonian Magazine

Water-beetles destroying carp

Smithsonian Libraries

Three new myrmecophilous beetles

Smithsonian Libraries

Dung Beetles Offset Climate Change

Smithsonian Magazine

Photo: Duwwel

Methane, a gas that significantly contributes to global warming, comes from an array of sources associated with digestion and decay—like landfills, bogs, and the digestive tracks of the world’s cows. ”Cattle-rearing,” according to the UN News Center, “generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation.”

An unexpected hero has emerged to help contain this messy predicament, however. Dung beetles, it turns out, keep cow pats fluffy and aerated, preventing methane—which requires oxygen-free conditions—from forming. In a new study, researchers used a closed chamber to measure gaseous emissions from cow paddies both with and without beetles. The beetles, they found, significantly lowered the amount of greenhouse gases that seeped out of the cows’ waste.

“If the beetles can keep those methane emissions down, well then we should obviously thank them -– and make sure to include them in our calculations of overall climatic effects of dairy and beef farming,” said study lead Tomas Roslin in a statement.

One of the authors warns, however, that our appetite for beef is on the rise, while many dung beetle populations are on the decline. But most of these dung beetle declines are linked to populations of mammals in distress—think elephants, rhinos or pretty much any other large, charismatic species that people like to shoot or push out of prime habitat.  Many species of dung beetles are intimately linked to their hosts through particular dung preferences, so as those big animals decline, so, too, do the bugs. 

Cow farms, on the other hand, aren’t going anywhere, so as long as we don’t douse fields with pesticides, the beetles will probably be there, steadfastly munching away and helping to prevent that would-be methane from forming. But still, even the most determined dung beetles can’t offset all of those emissions, especially since a significant portion come directly out of the cow (mostly as burps). So don’t feel too relieved about eating that steak or burger. 

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African Dung Beetles Navigate at Night Using the Milky Way 
Nature’s Own Pooper-Scoopers Keep Earth Livable for All of Us 

SIQ Can beetles be researchers?

Smithsonian Institution
John Ososky, museum specialist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History Osteo Prep Laboratory answers: Can beetles be researchers?

British beetles: an introduction to the study of our indigenous Coleoptera. By E.C. Rye ..

Smithsonian Libraries
Each plate accompanied by leaf with descriptive letterpress.

Coleoptera, Tenebrionidae / von Hans Gebien

Smithsonian Libraries
Includes index.

Coleoptera: Lamellicornia

Smithsonian Libraries
Vol. 4 has series title: The Fauna of India, including Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma and Malaya.

Carrion Beetles Were the First Caring Parents

Smithsonian Magazine

Good parents protect their babies from danger, feed them and teach them the ways of the world. This is exactly what carrion beetles—a group of insects that feast on decaying flesh—did some 125 million years ago. According to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, not only were the beetles exceptional parents, but they also represent the oldest known example of active parenting on the planet. 

Finding traces of exceptional parenting in the fossil record is exceedingly difficult. In this case, the team managed it by studying fossils from China and Myanmar. The fossils showed that ancient beetles from the Early Cretaceous possessed special bodily structures close to those modern beetles possess that allow them to communicate with their young. Additionally, an amber fossil they uncovered caught the beetle parents in action, showing "elaborate biparental care and defense of small vertebrate carcasses for their larvae."

For all of their attentive care throughout the ages, however, parental love might not be enough. Several modern carrion beetles are endangered, the team reports. The American burying beetle, for example, is down to fewer than 1,000 individuals that live east of the Mississippi River. Even the most experienced parents in the world can't shield their babies from the ill-effects of human-driven habitat fragmentation, it seems.  

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