Subject: Unusual beetle
Location: Murambi East suburb of Mutare, Manicaland, Zimbabwe
December 16, 2013 4:56 am
Found a very unusual beetle this morning in a compost heap at the back of the garden. Have never seen anything like it before. Has a brilliant green “eye” on its brown carapace which shifts position depending on the direction of illumination. Has a most unusual white “snout” more like a platypus bill than a rhino horn. The beetle is about 3 centimeters long and moves quite fast.
Would be very interested to know what it is.
Signature: Peter Lowenstein
This is truly a spectacular Scarab Beetle. We struggled for some time with its identity, and we eventually found a matching photo on Beetles of Africa where it is identified as Ranzania splendens petersiana. The family is listed as Goliathini, though we believe that to be the tribe and the family to be Scarabaeidae. Beetles of Africa indicates this lovely beetle is from Malawi and Zimbabwe and states: “This beautiful shovel snout is a sap and fruit feeder.” There are some beautiful photos of this species on Insectmania. Flower Beetles.com has some information on breeding in captivity.
Many thanks for your prompt reply with the positive identification and references. Looks like our emails with my notification of tentative identification by a local friend (copy attached) have crossed. The photos on Insectmania are indeed beautiful as is the creature.
I returned my specimen to the compost heap after taking several photos but was quite reluctant to do so. Am not therefore surprised to learn that they are bred in captivity.
Your assistance and interesting links very much appreciated.
Kind regards and best wishes,
Ed. Note: The Crossed Email
A friend here in Mutare has identified the beetle as Tauhrina Splendens –
using the book “Insects of South Africa” – copy of entry and photo attached.
Have done a Google Advanced Image Search on Taurhina Splendens which turned
up a website http://www.ispot.org.za/species_dictionary/Taurhina%20splendens
with a description and a photo of the beetle which looks similar to mine
Thought I would let you know straight away for your information and records
and save you the job of searching for it.
Ed. Note: Regal Fruit Chafer
December 17, 2013
In attempting to identify another South African Scarab, we stumbled upon a nice image of the Regal Fruit Chafer on BioDiversity Explorer.