Here’s a Wednesday-hump-day treat: copulating Japanese Beetles! The top group love fest above was found in my heavy-pollen-full-bloom magnolia tree (Holly Springs, NC). Those little rascals. The second photo was taken along a stream in New River Gorge, WV.
These handsome little devils are destructive & mighty pests, but enough of that; learn time!
So, I like these bugs. They are pretty handsome with their penny metallic elytra (that covers their wings) and their green heads. BUT – they are gnarly for a garden. The eat the surface part of leafs and petals leaving just the vein structure of the plant (which you can see an example of in the 2nd photo). When they go, your leaves are just lace-like ghosts of the green wonders they were.
They are originally from Japan, but their population is controlled fairly well due to natural predators. They arrived in the US in the early 20th century and have since taken over gardens and plants all across New England, the Eastern Seaboard and some states in the South.
Curious behavior includes raising their back legs in a super flexible and outlandish way when they are approached. This is maybe because their leggies have tough-ish spikes on them. But it’s pretty funny to see. Some dudes in the group-lovin’ photos have their kickers up.
Bonus! On the second photo, if you look through the destroyed part of the leaf you can see a second romantic couple gettin’ busy on the underside.