This is us, right?
We have been looking forward to writing up something tropical and spectacular for some time now. The prospect of finding out about some of the Noetropical longhorn beetles is particularly exciting for obvious reasons, and none better, or perhaps more obvious, than the Harlequin Beetle. Mostly because it’s spectacular and well known and obtaining a specimen is ridiculously easy, especially for those who attend entomological exhibitions. And writing this one was a pleasure for many reasons; for me the best bit was spending time looking at the morphology and sexual dimorphism, but the behaviour is also fascinating and the fact that they transport other organisms such as pseudoscorpions about the rain forest is also amazing. Of course we cannot indulge in too much of this sort of thing because the site is about UK beetles, and finding the Harlequin here is unlikely. So far, so good. But there was a massive downside to writing about this species as well. And one that we in the UK are only superficially aware of, and that is the absolutely mind-boggling rate of habitat destruction and environmental abuse going on in South America. OK, so we know it’s happening and it’s sad, and we would all like to help but what can we do? We like our mahogany and cocoa and coffee and palm oil and all the rest of it, so yes it’s a shame but again, what can we do? We have already modified our own little islands to the huge detriment of our wild life, and with building work going on at a furious pace it seems that we will continue to do for the sake of our own economic well being. It may seem trivial when a piece of land is built on, especially when the fauna being destroyed comprises mostly common and inconspicuous species, it’s a shame but we accept it because the wider economy depends upon growth. The nimby brigade will always have their say but tough, progress is progress eh? Being told that the Devil’s Coach Horse is being displaced from an area due to development is acceptable for most people because they are ignorant of the wider issues, that’s us right? But for crying out loud, how can people behave the same way when they are aware of all the fantastic diversity in the rain forests? It hurts to say this but the answer is always the same. Personal wealth and security, it’s what we all crave, and if we can achieve these things by modifying our environment then we will. Each and every last one us.