Week seventy-five: CADELLE (probability 18560), by David Sutton

A CADELLE is a small black beetle; the word is French, deriving ultimately from the Latin catellus, little dog.

Over 400,000 species of beetle have so far been described, representing about 40% of all insect species, and there are doubtless a vast number still to be discovered: it seems one has only to shake a tree in the tropics for a shower of hitherto unknown specimens to fall upon one's head. Perhaps fortunately for Scrabble players, relatively few have vernacular names, but among them are the BRUCHID, whose larvae live on peas and beans, the BUPRESTID, a wood-boring beetle, the Australian CANEGRUB, the black carnivorous CARABID, the CLAVICORN, so named for its club-shaped antennae, the CURCULIO, which is a kind of weevil, the DORBUG or cockchafer, and the DYTISCID or diving-beetle. Then there are the ELATERID or click-beetle, also known as the SKIPJACK beetle, the FIGEATER of the southern US, which as its name suggests destroys figs, the HORNBUG, a large nocturnal beetle with long, curved upper jaws, resembling a sickle, the MELOID or blister beetle and the SCOLYTID or bark-boring beetle.

Perhaps that is enough to be going on with, but I cannot resist concluding with two beetles which, whatever part they may play in the planet's ecology, are virtually useless to Scrabble players: the HUMBUZZ, a dialect name for the cockchafer, and the magnificently improbable TOKTOKKIE of South Africa.


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