I try to make a habit of picking up our local alternative newspaper, the Tucson Weekly; if only for my guilty pleasure, the “News of the Weird” by Chuck Shepherd. His column sometimes has me laughing out loud. Not surprisingly, some of the stories revolve around an entomology theme, as did one this week.
The first entry in his column is entitled “Bejeweled Beetle,” and reads thus:
There you have it, folks, your tax dollars at work. I only wish that we were collectively so vigilant when it comes to agricultural and forest pests. There is certainly nothing to fear from the beetle species employed as a living ornament. That would be Zopherus chilensis, an “ironclad beetle” in the family Zopheridae. They are scavengers that feed on organic debris and pose no known threat to the health of humans, pets, livestock, crops, or garden plants. I only wish I could say the same about most of the human characters in “News of the Weird.”