Why do we call them June Bugs – when they don’t emerge to pester us until July to September?! Well, to be more accurate “us” would be you-all in the Eastern states. You have June Bugs … in other parts of the country (primarily the Southwest), we hail the arrival of the …
FIGEATER (figʹētʹɘr) n. – a large, green, velvety scarab beetle (Cotinis nitida) of the Southern U.S., the adults of which feed on ripe fruit; June bug. [WW #76]
As with most “facts” in life, much is disputed about these members of the scarab beetle family. Wiki disagrees with the dictionary and classifies the Figeater as the “Cotinis mutabilis, distinguishing it from its June Bug cousin, the “Cotinis nitida.”
Thing is, with “over 30,000 species of beetles worldwide,” 1) how are we supposed to know which is which, and 2) why should we care? A beetle is still an annoying beetle … be it figeater, June Bug or flower chafer … eewwww!
Once upon a time long ago, though, scarabs were (and still are, in some circles) revered as good fortune by the ancient Egyptians, and symbol of Khepri, a solar deity.
Many Egyptian antiquities bear the beetle’s image in gold and/or jewels and gemstones. Take a gander at Tutankhamun's ornate, beetle-babe breastplate.
From amulets to political and diplomatic emblems, the beetles we call pesky figeaters, were honored in luxurious adornments, in life and in death. “Heart scarabs” became popular to place with mummies, symbolic of their hearts traveling with them to the afterworld.
So, if you’re looking for a reason to like Figeater beetles – there ya go – now All You Need is Love and a little Help! to make it through A Hard Day's Night* ... heehee.
Word of the Week: FIGEATER. Give the ancient figeater some credit – have fun scouring the antiques shops for your own flashy green charmer! How many times can you use figeater in your writings this week?
*For those of you who don’t get The Beatles’ reference – and to those who do – I’m sorry. :-)
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