Natural History Mystery Delivery
by Doc Fred Chichocki, Camp Chewonki Naturalist
On an otherwise average day this past August, I was working in the Nature Museum when I received an unexpected package. I thought it amazing the odd-shaped parcel reached me, considering it was simply addressed to DOC fred, Camp Chewonki, Maine. Turning it over, I realized the intriguing item had come from Iggy, a young camper and one of my most enthusiastic naturalists from Session One this past summer. Opening the box, I was surprised to find a large, green beetle (still quite alive!) in a ventilated container and a typed note. It seemed my young friend needed help IDing his specimen.
I recalled Iggy mentioned this beetle during an insect study adventure this summer. “Our Japanese Beetles in Brooklyn are twice as big as the puny ones in Maine,” he’d said, to which I expressed skepticism. Upon his return home, Iggy realized his error. But what was it? “Perhaps an Emerald Euphoria?” he asked in his note. Iggy wanted to know, too, what other “amazing natural history discoveries” we’d made since he left camp, writing, “tell me everything, don’t leave anything out!”
To my surprise, young Iggy got pretty darn close with his ID. The beetle was an Eastern Green Fruit Beetle, which belongs to the same subfamily as the Emerald Euphoria along with the African Goliath Beetle, the world’s most massive insect.
Smiling, I sat down at the old green table that serves as my desk in the Chewonki Nature Museum and placed an antique typewriter in front of me. I looked over at the beetle thoughtfully as I prepared to hammer out an extended reply to Iggy–budding naturalist extraordinaire,.. not leaving anything out.