A cautionary tale for amateur entomologists
I assume that a professional would never do something as dumb as this. Would they?
In a passage in his autobiography, Charles Darwin wrote in a letter to one Leonard Jenyns* that a (bombardier) beetle had attacked him. Quote:
” … I must tell you what happened to me on the banks of the River Cam in my early entomological days; under a piece of bark I found two Carabi (I forget which) & caught one in each hand, when lo & behold I saw a sacred Panagæus cruxmajor; I could not bear to give up either of my Carabi, & to lose Panagæus was out of the question, so that in despair I gently seized one of the carabi between my teeth, when to my unspeakable disgust & pain the little inconsiderate beast squirted his acid down my throat & I lost both Carabi & Panagæus!”
For those interested, and who would not be interested, Panagaeus cruxmajor, the crucifix ground beetle, is a rare European ground beetle. In England it occurs in a few places only – hence the reason why Darwin was so excited.
(Note: this is not my photograph)
* … and Leonard Jenyns, according to Wikipedia, was an English clergyman, author and naturalist. Born in 1800. He was forced to take on the name Leonard Blomefield to receive an inheritance and is chiefly remembered for his detailed phenology observations of the times of year at which events in natural history occurred. A sound chap – and more interestingly yet, was the original choice to accompany Capt. Fitzroy as Naturalist in the Beagle on his voyage to survey the coasts of S.America, afterwards going round the globe but turned down the offer due to ill health and parish duties.
His diary entry for 1831 records that he suggested Charles Darwin as his replacement, and they afterwards maintained a correspondence.