May Beetle – (Phyllophaga sp.)

I did not realize what a can of worms I was opening when I took a picture of this brown scarab beetle that I have always called a ‘June bug’ or ‘June beetle’.

brown scarab beetle
I rescued it from the bird bath

If you look up ‘June beetle’ on Wikipedia this is what you get:

June beetle is the common name for several scarab beetles that appear around June in temperate parts of North America:
In subfamily Cetoniinae:
Cotinis nitida (Green June Beetle) of the southeastern United States
Cotinis mutabilis (Figeater Beetle) of the western and southwestern United States


In subfamily Melolonthinae:
Amphimallon solstitiale (European June Beetle, Summer Chafer) of Europe (and other species of Amphimallon )
Melolontha (cockchafers or May bugs) of Europe
Phyllophaga (May beetles) of the Americas
Polyphylla decemlineata (Ten-lined June Beetle) of the western United States.
Rhizotrogus marginipes (and other species of Rhizotrogus )


See also: June bug (disambiguation)

Clearly scientific naming has a practical purpose other than to keep a dead language alive.

There are over 260 different species of Phyllophaga, and honestly it seems like everyone just sort of gave up on distinguishing different types of New World scarabs. I wanted to be more specific with my beetle so I spent a ridiculous amount of time browsing through a Google image search of ‘june bug, june beetle, brown scarab beetle’.

According to this insect is [generically] called a May Beetle…

… but it will always be my June bug.


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