1) This comical looking insect with antennae poking out halfway along its long mouthparts is a type of beetle called a weevil, photographed in the Cockscomb jaguar reserve.
2) A beetle prepares to launch itself into flight in Cockscomb national park in Belize.
There are more insects in the world than any other type of animal, more beetles in the world than any other type of insect, and more weevils in the world than any other type of beetle. About 40% of the 900000 known insect species are beetles, and there are about 60000 species of weevils, making them more numerous than any other family of animal. By comparison there are only 28000 fish, 10000 birds, 8200 reptiles and 5400 mammals.
Beetles all belong to an order of insects with the name Coleoptera, a Greek word which means "sheathed wings". The front pair of wings has become hard and is no longer used for flying, instead being used as a cover for the rear wings, which generate all the lift for flight. This protects the wings and body, but at a cost. The front wings, or elytra, have to be held out of the way during flight and act as drag, making it harder to fly. The rear wings have to be folded and unfolded for flight, which can be a very complicated and lengthy exercise, sometimes requiring the beetle to use its feet and abdomen to make it happen. This procedure also makes it much harder for the beetle to escape quickly when threatened.
Photographs by Richard Seaman
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Other Belizean "Pictures of the Day":
San Pedro Daily, Tony Rath's "Images of Belize"