Name: Rene J.
Thursday, June 06, 2002
I live in Texas where as a child I grew up collecting the
outer skins of June bugs. I would find their "skins" on the bark of the
trees surrounding our house. The bugs that I'm talking about are about an
inch in length and their coloring is brown. They have a hard shell like
skin. They also can fly.
I was told by someone that June bugs don't shed their skin. Am I right in
what I am calling these bugs, and that they do shed an outer layer of skin
when they are in their complete adult stage?
The insects I called June bugs when I was little are beetles. The insects
you are describing sound like cicadas, which live most of their lives
underground, then climb up the trunks of trees to shed their juvenile skin
and emerge as winged adults.
However, I am not an entomologist, and I do not know the proper names for any
of these creatures. Your question illustrates exactly the reason that
scientists use specific taxonomic names for species, so that there is no
question what they are talking about.
Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois
You may wish to try the following site, which serves as a general reference
for plants and animals.
It is also a good place for plant and animal taxonomy.
---Nathan A. Unterman
First of all, June Bugs are not "bugs" by definition, they are beetles!
Secondly, you have confused the life cycle of this insect. This insect
goes through complete metamorphosis. It startes out as an egg, hatches into
a larvae, grows into the pupa stage, craws up a tree and emerges as an adult
breaking out of the pupa exoskeleton. The skin you found on tree barks is
the outer covering of the pupa stage. The adult breaks out of this pupa
exoskeleton to fly and mate. Mating is the sole purpose of the adult stage.
Once the adult has emerged, it does not shed any outer exoskeleton. The
outer skins you collected did not show any indication of having wings.
Wings are found only on the adults.
June "bugs" are beetles in the insect order Coleoptera; true bugs are in the
order Hemiptera. Beetles undergo complete metamorphosis, changing from
larvae to pupae to adults, and the adults do not shed their skin. However it
is common to find dead adults in the summer, and the hard outer shells may
persist after the soft parts are scavenged or decay.
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Update: June 2012