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’.
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 InsectIdentification.org this insect is [generically] called a May Beetle…
… but it will always be my June bug.