A Beetle’s Beloved Beer Bottle [60 Second Specimens]


This is the story of a love affair between
male Australian jewel beetles, and roadside trash. Julodimorpha bakewelli live in Australia’s
arid western regions. They’re big, orange, and bumpy– and that’s
how they like their females, too. In the 1980s, entomologists Darryl Gwynne
and David Rentz noticed a few of these male beetles were desperately attempting to mate
with discarded beer bottles on the side of the road– apparently, thinking that the bottles
were the biggest, orangest and bumpiest females they’d ever seen. To be sure, the scientists tested their hypothesis
by placing four bottles on the ground in an open area. Within a half hour, two of the bottles- the
orange, bumpy ones- had attracted additional male beetles, while regular wine bottles had
not. As amusing as this might be, it was having
serious consequences for these ambitious breeders: the males were so determined to copulate with
the beer bottles, that they were dying from dehydration, or were consumed alive by ants. As the years went on and people became more
aware to not littering the ground with trash, things seemed to improve for the beetles–
until a couple of years ago they made headlines again when it was discovered that they were mating with orange traffic cones and safety vests.

100 thoughts on “A Beetle’s Beloved Beer Bottle [60 Second Specimens]

  1. They won an IG Nobel, didn't they? I heard this story a couple of years ago, but I didn't know they've moved to traffic cones & vests.

  2. I hope she didn't travel all the way to Australia just for that trash shot.

    Actually, that would make the whole trips tax write off..so now I hope she did?

  3. A horny beetle will have his way and even if it is a traffic cone he is thinking Why spoil the beauty of a thing, it's the biggest orange cone I ever saw and it is good enough for me.

    Great quick video Emily!

  4. I was at the melbourne museum a while back and they have an area all about bugs. They a little segment about these beetles and their bottles, apparently the biologists contacted VB (the apparent beer in question) and ask them to change their bottle design. Apparently they did, and now all brown beer bottles are smooth and shiny!

  5. I had heard the story about the beer bottles before — though it's always interesting and funny — but I hadn't heard of the more recent development.

    Haven't the orange traffic cones and safety vests been around awhile? If they've had them in Australia for as long as we have in the U.S., is this attraction new? If so, do you or they have any idea why?

    Seems like those things would be different enough from the beetles that it shouldn't be a problem. Even the beer bottles seem like they should be obviously too big to be beetles, but that's at least in the realm of being vaguely understandable.

  6. Are you guys posting these 60 sec videos on Twitter? I’m sure they would do pretty well on there (esp if you add subtitles)

  7. Interesting story and fun delivery. Great job, Emily. (Also, this is awkward, but you might want to eliminate orange safety vests from your wardrobe from now on.)

  8. I live in Western Australia and a while ago I was on a holiday in the Southwest and ran along a town called Boyup Brook which had at it's visitor centre one of the largest collections of jewel beetles in the world, owing to the occupancy of Keith Carnaby, an entomologist who spent his life collecting and studying jewel beetles. I picked up a book he wrote there called "Jewel Beetles of Western Australia" that contains a little information on his studies and jewel beetles, and pages upon pages of both scaled up and 1:1 scale photographs of the different specied he had found specimens of.

  9. Hi Sunshine, an so the movie 50 shades of orange was inspired by the life an death of these Male Beatles. May you enjoy peace an prosperity, while manifesting all the love an light of life.

  10. It’s cool what you can learn in 60 seconds and it invites you to look further into the topic if it truly peaks your interest! Keep up the awesome videos and amazing work 🙂

  11. I soooo appreciate the small intricacies of these videos; they just make everything so much more fun. I feel like I remember these stories better than most things I learn from videos. Great work once again 🙂

  12. Love your videos! But please, never eat a tim tam like this! You should eat them with hot beverage! Its a waste to eat them plain… here in brasil, they are as expensive as an apartment! hahahahaha

  13. Fascinating! And a great example of how human made objects can cause problems in ways we might never have predicted.

  14. These are great, but I want all of them to be longer! You give me this little tiddle of information and I want MORE.

  15. I really like these quickie reports about museum specimens, but most of them end up being more than 60 secomds long. So maybe they should be titled “Specimens Of About 60 Seconds, Give Or Take A Few Minutes.”

    Or maybe that’s my OCD talking.

  16. I just want to appreciate that you could have chosen any brown beer bottle but you went with bottles of genuinely Australian Bundaberg ginger beer.

  17. Thebrainscoop Did anyone notice the use of Bundeburg Bottles (Australian Ginger Beer) Nice touch!! Read about you on cbs news, congrats on the mainstream exposure! Subscribed and can’t wait to watch someone smart for a change

  18. This is an awesome format for videos; also this is just a fantastic video. Nothing is as weird and wild as science, OMG.

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