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Czech experts bring world’s largest beetle home from Amazonia

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Olomouc, North Moravia, Feb 10 (CTK) – Biologists from two Czech universities have brought a live titan beetle, the world’s largest, home from their expedition to Amazonia and they are examining it now, Martina Saradinova, spokeswoman for the Olomouc University’s Faculty of Sciences, told CTK on Wednesday.

The male is over 15 cm long and it weighs 35 grammes.

The opportunity to see a live titan beetle is unique. Not even Czech museums’ insects collections seem to include a titan, Saradinova said.

The experts from the universities in Olomouc and Ostrava caught the beetle in a rainforest in French Guiana.

“Before, the first and the last time a live titan was imported to the Czech Republic by an amateur collector more than 15 years ago,” Tomas Kuras, one of the expedition members, said.

He said the new beetle was “studied” by experts at the Ostrava university, north Bohemia, for a week before being passed on to their Olomouc colleagues for examination.

The titan beetle occurs exclusively in rainforests and it is quite difficult to catch because it must be sought at night when it is active.

“We were extremely lucky…According to our information, only three titans were caught in the area which we explored in the recent period,” Kuras said.

The experts attract the beetle by a strong source of light. It flies silently to a distance of 10 to 15 metres from the light source and then it falls to the ground. At that moment, the entomologist has to find and quickly catch it before it disappears in the darkness again.

The light can attract only male beetles. Females probably never fly.

Although the titan beetle is very attractive for experts and collectors, they paradoxically have only scarce information about it.

By observing the imported beetle, Czech experts may improve their knowledge of this unique species, which may contribute to its protection in the wild.

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