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Why do beetles sometimes "die" but come back to life?


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This is the second time this year a beetle "died" but turned out not dead. Let me share you the stories!

I found Mikey, my rice beetle inside the paper towel I keep in the water dish. It's strange as he usually is burrowed under the substrate during the day. He likes to swim and burrow in the towel at night, so I got worried that he was stuck - and I guess he was, as he was dead when I freed him...or at least that's what I thought. He was motionless with a torn piece of paper towel in his mouth. It's strange though. Rice beetles are good swimmers, designed to eat in rice fields and often sleep inside their food(like strawberries and rotten squash), certainly they have a good threshold when it comes to holding their breath, right? When it comes to bugs in the bird bath,  rice beetles tend to survive from drowning over any other insects trapped in it.

Me and my niece where really upset about Mikey's passing...but maybe it's not too late?

Earlier this year, my darkling beetle "drowned" in the water dish...only to surprise me with him crawling around in the "dead-bug" container(where we keep our bugs who have passed away, waiting to be cast in resin)! So I wondered if Mikey could be in this situation. I then saw a leg flinch! I didn't want to give up on him. His body wasn't stiff or smelly, so lets give him a second chance, even after I accidently dropped him😨. I put him in a random little soup container I found in the trash with some leaf litter and a little prayer. Unbelievably, he actually slowly recovered. and is acting completely normal now! I am keeping him in a different container right now for him to gather his strength before returning to the main scarab tank. I don't think I'll be using paper towels in the dish for any more. My niece was so happy when Mikey was recovering, she's going to be happier when she comes over tomarrow to see him alive and well.

Poor Mikey is probably super stressed right now. Need to find some bug treats or something to spoil him with. lol

So, what exactly goes on when these cases happen? Do they go into some type of mode when they can't breath?

Well one thing is for sure, never give up on a drowned bug! 

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Really? He really never played dead him when handling. And yes, he is a Dyscinetus morator.  I really think he was suffercating from the towel.  As an update, he has fully recovered and was eating banana last night. He can no longer swim well though. I found him floating on his back in a small bottle cap of water I use as a water dish. Looks like he suffered some nerological damage. I hope he doesn't fall on his back constantly like my zombie darkling beetle did!

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Yeah I thought I collected some green june beetles I thought were “dead”. I was going to put them with the rest of my dead insect collection. When I looked back at them the “dead” beetles that hadn’t moved for 30 minutes were alive!

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