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Stag Beetle - July 2, 05

I found this little guy tonight at Belvedere Castle while waiting to see if one of our hawks would fly over. Someone in a group of amateur astronomers identified it as the ‘dreaded’ Asian Long horned Beetle. I found the poor thing fascinating regardless, and took a few photographs of it. On hearing the highly publicized name, another one of the star-gazers decided that we should ‘get rid of it’. I would spare the reader the details of my defense of the poor creature, but very soon the beetle was left alone, and after I photographed it a few times I picked him up and set it down on the ground behind the south wall of the castle. He disappeared in the darkness and I wished him the best. I imagined him finding a piece of dead wood amongst the dried leaves and taking shelter within it. I returned to my camera gear and found the star-gazers busily calculating and gauging bodies in the heavens. Maybe they were searching for signs of life way out there. I hope they don’t find a weird looking beetle on any of those planets because someone may be tempted to crush it to death. By the way, tonight I looked up the Asian LH beetle and this certainly does not look anything like it...

Letters in response to the beetle (July 3, 05)...
"Dear Lincoln, The beautiful beetle you found there is a stag beetle. That is only the family’s name, my professor and I we both do not know the name of species. In Germany it would already be against the law to catch this kind of beetle, let alone to kill. As far as I know, there exist only a small number of stag beetles in the world. I am glad that you could stop these men from planning to kill it!... Jenny, (Germany) "

Hi Lincoln!
I visit your site every day to see what's new with Pale Male and Lola and Jr. and Charlotte. I saw the bug you photographed and knew right away it was not the dreaded Asian Longhorn Beetle. Your photo subject is a male Pinch Beetle, also known as an American Stag Beetle. He's completely harmless. Their larvae only feed in dead or decaying wood. So, even though they are found in woodlands they won't damage trees like the Asian Longhorn. They are attracted to lights and as a result sometimes make their way into people's houses. Feel free to share this with the stargazers. Maybe next time they see a bug they'll think twice... Robin, (USA)