Exhibits

OBJECT OF THE MONTH - March, 2005

Living Jewelry- Tenebrionid Beetle

Living jewelry. Tenebrionid beetle (Family Tenebrionidae).

Many beetle species, with brilliant colors, are a popular motif in jewelry; think of the scarab beetles of Ancient Egypt. This tenebrionid beetle from Mexico is not a facsimile. The living beetle was adorned with purple and gold colored ribbon and an opalescent substance, glued to a chain that could then be pinned to clothing.

The adult insect feeds little and does not fly. Still sold, and worn, in parts of Mexico, U.S. Customs will not allow the living beetles into the United States. This one was collected by former University of Colorado Museum of Natural History Director Dr. Hugo Rodeck in the early 1960s.
 
When is a living creature a pet? When is it an accessory? What is adornment?