Amourobius ferox

Amourobius ferox
By Peter Byles

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Piles Beetle

Quite often beetles are attracted to the moth trap. This is one of the smaller diving beetles. What intrigued me was its name. Piles Beetle. Liopterus haemorrhidalis.It was named by Fabricius in 1787. He was a Danish entomologist, professor of zoology Copenhagen and a chum of Linnaeus.
One of my daughters did a bit of digging into how it was so named. Apparently the treatment for piles back in those days was to obtain a lot of this species of beetle. these would be placed in a cup of water. This was applied to the offending pile which was nibbled away by the beetles (this was translated from archaic French by my daughter from a paper written by a physician in Narbonne). Another 'cure' was the application of an ointment made up of mashed-up Spanish Fly beetles, Lytta vesicatoria. This contains a blistering agent Cantharidin.

All I can say is 'Ouch'. Thank goodness we live in the present age.

Best Wishes, Peter Byles.

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