Welcome to our stop on the Last of the Sandwalkers blog tour! If you are a lover of graphic novels, you’re in for a special treat. Jay Hosler is here with more info on the type of beetles that appear in the book, and he’s drawn original artwork just for our stop. Check it out and then enter for a chance to win a copy of the book!
Character Name: Miriam Bedlow
Species: Mycotrupes gaigei
Length: 10 mm
Habitat: the sandhills and scrub habitats
Superpower: digging deep
Burrowing beetles (aka, Earth-Boring Dung Beetles) are small, flightless beetles that are found in sandhills and scrub habitats. Not much is know about these little beetles. The most comprehensive study of them was done in 1954 by a team of three scientists studying seven different species in the genus. It’s a massive 84-page manuscript that details the habitat and physical proportions of these beetles. Sadly, there is a dearth of information about their life history and behavior.
Why do we know so little? In their 1954 paper, Olson, Hubbel and Howden noted thaat, “The following observations have been made at the cost of many hours of hard labor,…” Turns out that these beetles don’t just burrow. They burrow DEEP. Scientists that collect burrowing beetles often have to dig six feet straight into the ground and that’s after you’ve spent hours looking for their little hole in the ground. When an organism spends most of its time deep underground and only comes out at night, it’s a little difficult to get a handle on their behavior.
Nevertheless, the researchers could figure out a little about their lives. They collect dung and bury it deep underground to feed their babies. There’s some suggestion that females of this species can live much longer than 13 months which is a significant stretch for an insect. The beetles are pretty strong, capable of bulldozing straight into the earth. Older beetles are covered in abrasions from constant digging and often wear away the spade-like extensions on their forearms. Because they’re flightless, they cann’t disperse as many beetles do, a fact that may contribute to their limited range.
In Last of the Sandwalkers, Miriam Bedlow is a beetle geologist with a totally cool drilling gizmo. As a burrowing beetle, she drills deeply and works hard. But, when she digs up something surprising in the earth, will she be able to share her discovery or will she have to pay a terrible price?
Nestled in the grass under the big palm tree by the edge of the desert there is an entire civilization—a civilization of beetles. In this bug’s paradise, beetles write books, run restaurants, and even do scientific research. One such scientist is Lucy, who leads a team of researchers out into the desert. Their mission is to discover something about the greater world…but what lies in wait for them is going to change everything Lucy thought she knew.
Beetles are not the only living creatures in the world.
Learn more about the insect world in Last of the Sandwalkers, including original artwork, by following the rest of the blog tour:
Seven Impossible Things
Wednesday, March 25
Great Kid Books
Thursday, March 26
The Brain Lair
Friday, March 27
Monday, March 30
The Book Rat
Tuesday, March 31
Wednesday, April 1
Mr. Schu Reads
Friday, April 3
Monday, April 6
Tuesday, April 7
SLJ Scope Notes
Wednesday, April 8
Thursday, April 9
Friday, April 10
We are pleased to offer a copy of Last of the Sandwalkers to one lucky reader, courtesy of First Second!
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