One of the most spectacular beetles in Australia is the Rhinoceros Beetle (Xylotrupes ulysses). It occurs from South East Asia through the islands of Indonesia to the Solomons and Australia. It is often found in Queensland’s coastal towns, including Brisbane. This black beetle reaches 60 mm in length and the male is easily recognised by its large horns; one on the top of the head and the other projecting forward from the middle of the thorax. Each horn is slightly forked at the end. The two horns almost meet, and by moving its head, the beetle can pinch weakly with them. As well as their fearsome appearance, Xylotrupes beetles can make loud hissing squeaks when threatened. They are really quite harmless, and can be handled with safety although the claws on the ends of the legs can grip clothing or skin strongly. The hissing squeak is merely bluff and is produced by rubbing the abdomen against the ends of the wing covers; if a squeaking beetle is examined closely, the abdomen can be seen moving in time with the squeaks. These bulky beetles have large wings neatly folded under the wing covers and can fly strongly. They are attracted to lights at night and are generally noticed when they come to house lights and accumulate in large numbers beneath street lights. In Brisbane they are only seen in the summer months, but in the tropical north they can be found at any time of the year. Only the males have horns and the females are plain black beetles. Females give off a sex hormone (pheromone) which attracts and excites males. In the presence of females, males use their horns in combat as they try to push one another off a branch. As with all beetles, the rhinoceros beetle larvae (grubs) hatch from eggs and develop into pupae, and these eventually emerge as adult beetles. Each female lays about 50 white eggs in decaying vegetable matter and these take about three weeks to hatch. The larvae feed on decomposing vegetable material and are valuable in accelerating its break-down into compost. -Australian Musuem
For the developers at New York start-up Networked Organisms, smartphones are the butterfly nets of the 21st Century. Their tool, Project Noah, lets people upload photos of plants and wildlife around them, creating a map of the natural world and contributing to scientific research in the process.
Bespectacled scientists of yore would carry around hefty field guides, made up of hundreds of pages of text and photos. But these days, smartphone owners have a lighter option: an app called Project Noah, which aims to help people identify plants and animals as well as collect data from "citizen scientists" about where certain species are located.
Project Noah enables us to be part of a more focused online community where we can learn more about wildlife around us and contribute to scientific research. It pulls participants into deeper, more meaningful engagement by enabling people to go on “missions” to collectively map changes based on sightings.
A modern invention that may also hold the key to saving species in the future. Project Noah is a global study that encourages nature lovers to document the wildlife they encounter, using a purpose built phone app and web community. In addition to the virtual "collection" of species, Project Noah encourages citizen science by linking up with existing surveys including the International Spider Survey and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.