General

The May bug - Wanted poster


Characteristics

Surname: Cockchafer
Latin name: Melolontha
class: Insects
size: 1 - 3cm
mass: ?
Older: Max. two months as a beetle
Appearance: six-legged
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: Herbivore (herbivor)
food: Leaves
distribution: Europe, Asia
original origin: unknown
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
habitat: Deciduous forests
natural enemies: Rodents, birds
sexual maturity: immediately after the metamorphosis to the beetle
mating season: April June
oviposition: 10 - 100 eggs
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.

Interesting facts about the cockchafer

  • The cockchafer or melonontha describes its own, three subspecies comprehensive genus within the leaf beetle.
  • Outwardly, the three species can only be distinguished by the nature and shape of the rearmost tank segment.
  • The cockchafer is found in all temperate zones of Central and Northern Europe as well as Asia. There he colonizes exclusively deciduous forests.
  • Cockchafs are a maximum of three inches long and have six legs and two pairs of wings. Under the light brown cover wings, which serve as wings, sit delicately translucent skin wings as a propeller.
  • As a very slow flying insect the cockchafer can only cover a maximum of eight kilometers per hour with loud hum.
  • Like all leaf-beetle beetles, the cockchafer has the characteristic antennae with the fan-shaped ends, which consist of individual leaflets. The antennae of the males are much larger than those of the females and are occupied by significantly more odor sensors.
  • In addition to the feelers, the zig-zag pattern on the sides of the body, in black and white, is a striking feature.
  • Males usually die shortly after mating, while females eat their way through the leaves of the trees to provide enough energy for oviposition. The oval eggs are placed after about two weeks in a deep dug hole in the ground, where after no more than six weeks, the larvae hatch.
  • Since the development of the May beetle runs in perennial cycles, in some summers only a few specimens are found, while it comes in other seasons to veritable epidemics.
  • About every fifty years also occur mass multiplication.
  • The damage caused by a mass infestation can sometimes lead to the death of entire forest regions. The loss of teeth, which the adult beetles cause on the leaves of deciduous trees, especially oaks and beech trees, can usually be survived by healthy plants. The problem is, however, the rooting of the grubs, which are in this stage of development over a period of three years in the soil and lead to the root loss of many young or weak trees.
  • Such cockchafer invasions also require that in the twilight fly out huge swarms, which can be a major danger in the road.
  • May beetles and their larvae serve as an important source of food for a large number of animals. They are captured by a variety of birds, moles, hedgehogs and mice, as well as bats and wild boars.
  • Despite repeated insecticide control measures in the past, which almost led to the eradication of the May beetle, the stock has recovered in recent decades.