With the beetles!
January 26, 2003 12:43 AM   Subscribe

Some of them look like the spawn of Devil; others, however, resemble fruit-shaped fridge magnets or a beautiful jewel from Ancient Egypt, and some are so bizarre they simply defy any description. You can also think of them as natural Rorschach inkblots (consider this, this, this and this) or even Moore/Gibbons' Rorschach (compare). Those are some of Poul Beckmann's 128 hi-res, magnified, close-up studio pics of beetles, complete with binomial nomenclature and the critters' origins. via Clifford Pickover's weirdlog, RealityCarnival
posted by 111 (24 comments total)
What does it mean that I saw semi-menacing faces in all the Rorschach beetles before looking at the "compare" link?

Great find, 111.
posted by hippugeek at 1:02 AM on January 26, 2003

Another pretty neat site with lots of cool pictures of insects is this one.

Cool link, 111.
posted by zerofoks at 1:12 AM on January 26, 2003

How ABSOLUTELY gorgeous those are. Thanks, 111!! And yet, to think, if they were actually ON my monitor, instead of just, you know, "on" my monitor, I would freak out, run out of the house screaming like a little woman, and probably just arrange to have the house sold without ever coming back here. Pretty, but still: bugs.
posted by jonson at 1:17 AM on January 26, 2003

I want to add that my favorite beetle is the goliathus. One heavy kind of a dude, though I still have to see one taking off with that giant pair of wings.
Does anyone here know of any online resources of bigger, prehistoric beetles than the goliath? :)
posted by zerofoks at 1:25 AM on January 26, 2003

Nice print images of scarab beetles, a Goliath, other interesting things from bugranch.

Thanks, 111.
posted by hama7 at 1:26 AM on January 26, 2003

Sorry: A Goliath, and other interesting things
posted by hama7 at 1:30 AM on January 26, 2003

[this is good]

Best grotesquebizarregorgeous critter post since the nudibranches. Thanks!
posted by Slithy_Tove at 1:30 AM on January 26, 2003

links 2 and 3 of yours point to metafilter.com, hama7.
posted by zerofoks at 1:32 AM on January 26, 2003

bugs are cool.
thanks, 111.
posted by juv3nal at 2:19 AM on January 26, 2003

I really like this funky one. I think it'd be cool to see it cruising around some equally funky terrain. I also want one of those posters. Great link. Thanks, 111.
posted by snez at 2:29 AM on January 26, 2003

Although I can appreciate the beauty of these creatures whilst looking at the pictures, I would probably still stamp the chit out of the little buggers if they came within a yard of me!
posted by essexjan at 4:51 AM on January 26, 2003

Ugh, I'm gonna have nightmares. I remember a couple of years ago, I was dragged to an exhibition in Avignon, France. A quick google reveals that it was called "La Beauté", but I can't find a better link than this, which only has this photo, which doesn't show what I want to talk about.

I remember it quite vividly. The start of the exhibition wasn't too bad - quartz and things like that, but moving on I was confronted with a wall covered with beetles. Some of these things were a foot long. I was horrified, but luckily they were behind glass.

However, I turned around, and saw a dress, made entirely of shiny beetles. And not behind glass. Just sitting there. I literally ran screaming....
posted by Orange Goblin at 5:30 AM on January 26, 2003

Great links 111, and many other great links posted in thread too, although I will have that crawly feeling all day now. Beetle afficianados might enjoy these metal and beetle sculptures.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:34 AM on January 26, 2003

Two Words: Tanker Bug
posted by bwg at 8:06 AM on January 26, 2003

A naturalist was once asked what his studies had told him about God. His reply was that he had an inordinate fondness for beetles. Something like 400,000 different types. They once cut down a tree in the Amazon and found 400 beetles they'd never heard of before. As cool as they are, 400,000 different mammals would be infinitely cooler. On all things insect-like, insects.org is definitely the place to go.
posted by Zootoon at 8:31 AM on January 26, 2003

In The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett, the God of Evolution makes beetles when hes stressed - leading to millions of the buggers.
posted by Orange Goblin at 8:36 AM on January 26, 2003

I imagine they think we look pretty weird too.
posted by troutfishing at 8:45 AM on January 26, 2003

Heh. Good one, troutfishing. And I'll add my thanks for the awesome post, 111.

[Oh, for anyone who's interested in the nudibranchs Slithy_Tove mentioned, all of the image files have been moved to a new server. Try here for all 348 (and counting) of the similarly amazing and beautiful creatures.]
posted by mediareport at 9:44 AM on January 26, 2003

Hi 111, excellent of you for mentioning Reality Carnival! Here's another favorite beetle page: Thorne's Insect Shop .
posted by Morphic at 10:22 AM on January 26, 2003

A naturalist was once asked

J.B.S. Haldane. I don't know whether the story is true, though.
posted by sennoma at 2:52 PM on January 26, 2003

Gymnopholus_regalis's body looks like the chassis of a fine, space-age vehicle (side view, below.)
posted by Shane at 7:08 PM on January 26, 2003

J.B.S. Haldane. I don't know whether the story is true, though.

This site (and a number of others) say Stephen Jay Gould noted the "inordinate fondness for beetles" remark was real:

(According to science writer Stephen Jay Gould, the quip is undeniably Haldane's, who often repeated it, but the story of it being a riposte to an actual theological question cannot be verified.)

I couldn't find the statement at stephenjaygould.org, but I did find this fascinating biographical sketch of Haldane:

J. B. S. Haldane was one of the great rascals of science—independent, nasty, brilliant, funny and totally one of a kind...A physically courageous 200-pounder, Haldane continued the family tradition of using his own body for dangerous tests. In one experiment, he drank quantities of hydrochloric acid to observe its effects on muscle action; another time he exercised to exhaustion while measuring carbon dioxide pressures in his lungs.

And then there's this:

During World War I, Haldane volunteered for the Scottish Black Watch and was sent to the front. There he found, to his shock and dismay, that he liked killing the enemy. Twice wounded, he personally delivered bombs and engaged in sabotage behind enemy lines, prompting his commander to call him "the bravest and dirtiest officer in my Army."

Haldane sure appears to have been smart and sarcastic enough to have made the crack.
posted by mediareport at 7:18 PM on January 26, 2003

that goliathus is one really fucking big beetle.
in fact, i would go so far as to say that beetle is bigger than jesus.
posted by fuq at 11:23 PM on January 26, 2003

heh heh.
posted by troutfishing at 6:54 AM on January 27, 2003

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