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This Amazonian ‘Warty’ Beetle Is Both Weird and Wonderful

If there’s one thing we can’t get enough of at Nerdist, it’s bugs. Not in a Snowpiercer kind of way, though. Rather, we like them as reminders of how weird and wonderful all of Earth’s little, crawling lifeforms can be. Take, for example, this warty leaf beetle from the Amazon rainforest. It sounds like something Tolkien would toy with in his mind, and looks like… a miniature, insect version of Prince?

Laughing Squid picked up on the above video, which was posted to Andreas Kay’s YouTube channel. The species in the clip, which belongs to the genus Chlasmisus is native to the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador.

In the video, Chlasmisus shimmers with a royal purple carapace and a very David Bowie-like combination purple-green streak across its head. (There’s just something about the bug that screams rockstar.) It’s shown wandering around, and nibbling like a dog at a leaf beneath it.

The purple leaf beetle close up

Andreas Kay

As for the most pertinent factoid that makes warty leaf beetles really stand out, that would have to be the way they raise their larvae. Apparently, female warty leaf beetles lay eggs singly on the leaves or stems of their host plant and then form a case of fecal material around each one. The larvae then remain in their fecal cases, and also add to them to enlarge them, as they grow. Finally, after about 20 days, newly hardened adults cut clean circles around the apexes of their cases, and then fly off to feed and mate.

Fascinating. Incidentally, we wish there were a way to Clorox wipe our brains.

Purple beetle from the side

Andreas Kay

Anybody looking to further explore the Middle-earth that is… Earth, should watch more of Kay’s videos. Kay, an independent scientist who passed away several years ago, captured countless other critters from the Amazon rainforest. Including ones that kind of look like they come from a Super Mario level. Or a box of popcorn at the movies.