Meet the incredible trilobite beetle of SE Asia

If weird insects are your thing, feast your eyes on the weirdest of them all – the trilobite beetle, a creature that looks like it’d be more at home with the dinosaurs than in the forests of present day.

These hard-shelled, segmented, multi-legged creatures are a pretty convincing trilobite imposter. Under the Phylum Arthropoda (Class Crustacea), these marine dwellers are one of the closest resembling creatures to the Trilobite. This is especially true of the species Serolis Trilobitoides (the name even has ‘trilobit’ in it!).

FOUND IN Southeast Asia and India, these peculiar beetles aren’t related to trilobites, but they are named after them, because of their similarly armoured bodies and helmet-like heads.

Meet the incredible trilobite beetle of SE Asia

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Learn More About Trilobites

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The Water Penny

Of the Phylum Mollusca (Class Amphinerura), Chitons represent a common inhabitant of intertidal zones around the world.

In 1996, he finally saw the act, and it was… unpleasant.

Bug looks like trilobites

Meet the incredible trilobite beetle of SE Asia

The nearest critter I’ve been able to find is the “Trilobite larva” from South East Asia. This one has me stumped.

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What makes these a sometimes-mistaken candidate as a Trilobite? Chitons are notable for their distinctive armored plate outer shell (initially resembling segments similar to those of an arthropod).

Twenty years ago, Alvin T. C. Wong from the Department of Zoology at the National University of Singapore followed a number of female trilobite beetles for days through the humid forests of Malaysia and Singapore to see if he could catch a pair mating.

The bizarre ancient-looking beetle that never grows up

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Why all the fuss over the water penny? It is postulated that there could be potential for the Trilobite to have survived and evolved over 100+ million years, finding their way into freshwater habitats. However, this is an assertion that currently has no scientific merit beyond conjecture.

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Does a Living Trilobite Exist Today?

In short, these insects are truly among nature’s weirdest wonders. They even come in different colors!

Some bugs are unusually big, others are utterly terrifying . and some are just downright bizarre. Coming to you from deep in the tropical jungles of Asia, behold the trilobite beetle:

Meet the incredible trilobite beetle of SE Asia

Trilobite Beetle | Project Noah

However, upon closer inspection, these aquatic larvae of the Mataeopsephus (a type of beetle), quickly reveal it’s true nature. A simple flip of the creature on its back reveals several pairs of limbs typical of insects.

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Bec Crew is a Sydney-based science communicator with a love for weird and wonderful animals. From strange behaviours and special adaptations to newly discovered species and the researchers who find them, her topics celebrate how alien yet relatable so many of the creatures that live amongst us can be.

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