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Bug Brooches Bring the Bling


One of the strangest sightings at the Biscayne BioBlitz so far must be the collection of bejeweled “ironclad beetles” in the Elliott Key science tent. Poor Zopherus chiliensis, a flightless wood-boring beetle, is frequently transformed into tourist kitsch in Mexico.

The harmless (and hapless) bugs suffer the application of rhinestones to their thick exoskeletons and are then chained alive—yes, you read that right, alive—to women’s blouses.

If that bugs you, don’t worry: We’re just counting beetles here at the ‘Blitz.


  1. Cindy Ryan
    November 27, 2016, 8:04 am

    I bought two of these in Merida years ago, and after I smuggled them home I kept them alive for six months in a fishbowl with rotten wood that I periodically misted (as the seller had advised). I clipped off the chains, but left the jewels.

  2. june
    June 27, 2013, 10:12 pm

    The fruiting bodies of fungi such as conks (i.e. shelf fungus)

  3. riley
    August 7, 2011, 12:25 pm

    what do they eat